Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Garbage Day

Over the past few months or so, a combination of apathy and self-consciousness on my part has seen me begin to write a number of posts which, either, I have never finished, or decided against posting. In the first instance, I’ve tended to get myself twisted in knots and been unable to continue, because, generally, writing coherently, does not occur all that easily for me and I’ve needed to direct my energy elsewhere. In the second instance, I’ve sometimes thought the partially composed post has become all mopey, and while I have really needed to articulate the thoughts, I’ve decided to spare you, because I don’t need to scare away the people who do actually comment on this blog, never mind those that I wish would, if only because I’ve commented on their blog.

(My excuse for posting this introduction now is that I was kept up all night and woken again in the wee hours by a party at one of my neighbours’ places. I’m tired and emotional and feeling a bit unloved.)

So, rather than waste these posts, or fool myself that I’m ever going to finish them to my satisfaction, I’ve decided to have a garage sale of never-before-loved (as opposed to pre-loved) posts. Actually, the process is probably more akin to a kerb-side collection, since I’m just putting them on the side-walk for anyone to either take or leave. In no particular order, neither chronological nor level of self-indulgence:

Great Expectations

I am interested to know what people expect from a blog.

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas...

It’s probably acceptable by now to admit that I’m winding down for the year, but really I haven’t been in work mode since the beginning of December. If there’s been any sense of purpose about the last couple of weeks, it’s arisen from the guilty awareness that I haven’t been researching my PhD as one who has the benefit of a full scholarship should approach such a task, that is, in the same manner as a full-time occupation. Instead, I’ve been haphazard: turning up late for shifts, calling in sick, lingering too long in the tea room, and going home early.

I’ve convinced myself that the nature of scholarly research is different from other kinds of employment, which, of course, it is. In the Humanities, no-one’s particularly concerned whether you’re in the office at a certain time; for all anyone knows, you could be working at home or you may have stayed up into the wee hours of the morning writing a chapter draft that will change the course of your chosen field as it is known. Heh, if only I had been doing that. No, even though I’ve realised that I can’t expect eight hours of intense intellectual work from myself per day, I’m not even meeting my own far more modest standards of productivity.

Mixed Up Confusion

I sat down to watch Big Brother on Sunday night and was presented by host, Gretel Killeen, addressing the television audience as though we had all heard rumours about the removal of two male housemates, John and Ashley, from the Big Brother house. Before that moment, I had heard no such thing. My consumption of BB is limited to the Daily Show and I occasionally visit the online news pages when my viewing of the Daily Show has fallen behind. Gretel’s announcement was news to me, so I sat and watch the Sunday night version of the Daily Show with great interest and much curiosity.

The rumours, it turns out, were true; John and Ashley had been shown the door due to an alleged sexual assault on fellow housemate, Camilla. Before John and Ashley were removed from the house, Big Brother had asked Camilla if she wanted to discuss the incident. She said that she had initially interpreted her house mates’ behaviour as a joke. When she felt they had gone too far, she asked them to stop, at which point they did. Later, John and Ashley were called to the Diary Room and from that point they were escorted from the house. Afterwards, Big Brother explained to the house mates that John and Ashley had been removed from the house due to an ‘incident’ involving them and Camilla, where they had breached the house rules.

Camilla’s immediate reaction to the removal of John and Ashley was one of guilt. Big Brother assured her she had nothing to feel bad about, that she had ‘done nothing wrong’. Some house mates seemed to find it difficult to believe that their friends, John and Ashley, wouldn’t be returning. Krystal asked if there was any possibility that they might return. Camilla volunteered to reveal what had happened to bring about John and Ashley’s removal, she explained that she hadn’t asked Big Brother to remove them from the house, but admitted that she had found their actions offensive and upsetting. In the edited footage I saw, no one suggested that Camilla was responsible for John and Ashley’s removal, they seemed to recognise that their friends had gone too far. Many hugged Camilla, others responded with silence, as in the case of David, or confusion, in the case of Jamie, who admitted he didn’t know what he was supposed to think.

After the Sunday Daily Show, I didn’t watch the Eviction Show. I really felt unable to enter into the usual pleasure of that programme. I turned over and watched Murder In Rome instead, a programme which I would otherwise have taped.

On Monday morning, I checked my email and found a Media Release from my subscription to the Office of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts. I posted a copy of Senator Coonan’s statement over at Sarsaparilla, not because I wanted to get involved in another circular debate over aspects of Big Brother, but because I thought it was important to draw attention to government intervention in commercial programming. On the topic of the alleged sexual assault itself, I still had much to process before I felt I could make any kind of comment.

I went over to Larvatus Prodeo and read Mark’s assessment. I’ll admit to not reading the comments on that site—I often get overwhelmed by the amount of comments that blog attracts—but I followed the links he provided to other blogs that had commented on the weekend’s events.

Howard is calling for the programme to be cancelled. But what does he know of the programme. Does he watch it on a regular basis and so have some sense of its history as a kind of provocation for the discussion of the issues of everyday lives, including eating disorders, body image, homosexuality, masculinity, femininity, motherhood, fatherhood...

Grey's Anatomy

When Channel 7 starts announcing that Grey's Anatomy is must-see-TV because 20 million North Americans once watched an episode, you know it's time to turn this show off for good. They're not convincing anyone. Producers know, don't they, that they're scraping the bottom of the medical drama barrel when they start introducing apocalyptic scenarios where bombs explode and chiefs of emergency medicine lose their arms in the rotor blades of helicopters?—oops! wrong show.

The Fake Doctor has long expressed his impatience with the medical veracity of Grey's Anatomy (and just re-reading that link, it's clear Australia is only now watching the episodes he was referring to six months ago). When I first read the Fake Doctor's post, I understood his comments in the context of his status as a medical student; that is, while I could appreciate his frustration with the inaccurate depiction of the lives of surgical interns, his concerns seemed not to properly account for the conventions and expectations of the medical drama genre.

There's an article by Gregory Makoul and Limor Peer, 'Dissecting the Doctor Shows', in an edited collection Cultural Sutures: Media and Medicine which, by means of a content analysis of ER and Chicago Hope, concludes that 'the primary mode of framing medicine is for its dramatic effect rather than any apparently accurate portrayal of doctors and their work'. So, in any television drama series, the question of veracity is reasonably secondary to the demands of drama.

Yet More Parallel Universe

In an effort to get my thinking back on track, so I could finish writing about the films I saw at BIFF, I went back and reviewed the previous entries in this ‘Parallel Universe’ series. Re-reading about the ‘Unveiling Islam: Women and Cinema in Iran and Turkey’ programme the festival ran, I was struck by the difference between...

TV Week: Tuesday

I can’t remember why I first began watching Oz. It was probably another one of those programmes that I discovered by scouring the post-10pm section of the TV guide. If there’s anything I’ve learnt in my years of television watching, it’s that if a programme’s scheduled when most 8.30-to-fivers would quite reasonably be heading off to bed, then it’s bound to be excellent television.

It’s in this manner that I discovered I’ll Fly Away about a white civil rights lawyer in the US during the 1960s. The lawyer was played by Sam Waterston, now of Law & Order fame, and the series was one of the first that David Chase worked on, he who is responsible for The Sopranos. I became a fan of 100 Centre Street in this way, and I also discovered the work of Tom Fontana in Homicide: Life on the Streets.

I remember the very first episode I saw of Homicide. It showed the night shift of a police homicide unit in Baltimore, on an evening when there were no murders. I was dumbfounded; what an astonishing way to begin a police drama series, without any action, indeed, without any crime. What was apparent from the first viewing, however—and it was soon confirmed in subsequent episodes—was that this programme would be character-driven.

It was a thrill to listen to the conversations these police detectives had about their everyday lives, and all the while they went about their gruesome jobs. It isn’t that the characters were inured to what they saw on a daily basis, but they were familiar with the routine of arriving at a crime scene, and so they approached without trepidation, still remembering an irritation they encountered travelling to work or the vagaries of rubbish collection, for example.

I have since discovered that Tom Fontana wrote for Hill Street Blues and after first watching Oz, it was no surprise to learn that he was the key creative force behind the series.

‘We Have A Visitor’

It’s always fascinating to discover what brings visitors to one’s humble blog over the millions of other self-published sites that they might have chosen from in the blogosphere. Perusing the list of the referral details gathered by Sitemeter is an exercise that is alternately flattering, rewarding, embarrassing and, sometimes, horrifying. Running your cursor over the referrals to reveal all of the words entered into the Google searches which have led to your blog provokes moments of self-awareness, times of reflection about the responsibility you must take for your rants and meditations, and, on some occasions, longer periods of thinking about the unforeseen uses of what you have posted.

I recently discovered that my thoughts on Smoke, a film written by Paul Auster and directed by Wayne Wang, has been listed on Paul Auster (The Definitive Website) in a drop-down menu of referrals to internet-based writing on that film. In the process of tracing back from the referral detail on Sitemeter, I revisited the website; the labour of one of Auster’s British-based fans, Stuart Pilkington. I read the ‘News’ section of the site and discovered that Auster’s new book, Travels In The Scriptorium, will be released in the UK through Faber & Faber on the 6th of October this year. Since, in Australia, we get the British covers, I’m assuming that means it will also be released here around the same time. Surely we won’t have to wait for the US release date early next year?

While I was reacquainting myself with Paul Auster, I was struck by the effort that Pilkington has put in to create and maintain the website. This is the work of a fan.

White Noise

I find myself sitting awkwardly in these debates. On the one hand I want to join in, because I have an opinion. On the other hand I find it difficult to respond to the debates in the blogosphere, because the comments pages of blogs are primarily an off the cuff medium in which I find it difficult to succinctly and comprehensively articulate a response; it’s more usual for me end up fighting for a position I don’t completely hold because I’ve been drawn in by the parameters of someone else’s framing of the issue.

Spanish Inquisition: Part Five

I am reading Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. In order to keep myself on task and so finish this 940 page tome, I have enlisted the support that your presence will provide to urge me to continue reading. I will post a record of my progress here at irregular intervals, as well as any comments and questions that are provoked by the text along the way.

V

When I finished the first part of Don Quixote, I put the book aside and didn’t approach it again for about a month. Now I’ve begun the second part and, contrary to my earlier intimation that the continuing adventures of the knight and his squire have been a cure for my insomnia, I have in fact had many reasons to smile since Quixote and Sancho resumed their travels.

I wonder if anyone who has unreservedly enjoyed DQ has been following this reading experience? What have they thought of my criticisms of the first part? Have they refrained from commenting because they knew what was to come in the opening chapters of the second part? Have they hidden their smiles behind their hands, knowing that my concerns about the welfare of Sancho and his wife were his own?


I Hate Football

I hate football. Perhaps that isn’t quite accurate. I have no opinion one way or the other about the actual game in its various incarnations, because I have never seen a live game or even watched it much on television. I should say, I hate the culture around football.

I have much experience of the culture around football because I live a stone’s throw away from Suncorp Stadium. I have written about this before, in a sort of haphazard way, but I’ve long been storing up a well-justified diatribe against the tyranny of this game in Australia’s cultural life.

What I Have Written

I’ve been thinking about autobiographical writing. Mostly, my thoughts have been in the context of what I have lately perceived to be embarrassing public outbursts on my part, where I have come to regret revealing something about myself on this and other blogs. I have cringed with self-consciousness at the thought of those passages where I have been too confessional about the details of my relationships with my family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

It would be easy enough to either edit or delete the offending posts and comments—and when I discussed, in general terms, my experience of embarrassment with some acquaintances who blog, they pointed out this possibility—but there’s something in me that resists exercising that option. I feel compelled to retain the integrity of the time line of the blog. I’m not sure why, it seems terribly conservative of me. Imagine the fun, the kind of textual play you could have with a blog if you altered past posts. On the most banal level, you could go back and correct errors of fact and typography, but on a more experimental level, you could retell every story on whim or fancy. Has anyone ever had a blog that has done away with archives altogether and only ever had one post, which is always replaced? Re-visiting such a blog via something like the National Library of Australia’s Pandora Project would be fascinating, in a linear kind of way.

Another reason that I balk at editing or deleting past posts is out of a desire to exercise integrity on a personal level. I’m fairly certain that I don’t always present as the most balanced or ...

Untitled

Today I read this sentence on Biology
of The Worst Kind:
I can feel the sadness seeping up through the Prozac like slime through floorboards.
And it just triggered something in me, a rush of tears, because that's how I've been feeling for some time now.

98 Reasons For Blogging: 9

9. Every week I check my blog statistics and usually end up feeling more confused than ever. I'm not entirely sure what I'm hoping to find when I comb through the list of Google searches that have brought people to my blog for what is usually a sum total of 0.00 seconds (according to Sitemeter anyway, but something in me wonders if that's even possible.) I suppose I'm looking for some evidence that someone has spent over an hour, thoroughly fascinated with my blog.

***
Ah, now I can see the floor again.

Re: Volver


I just saw Volver this evening, and I've since been marvelling over the depths of the female characters, and thinking that Penelope Cruz has never been so wonderful as she is in this Almodovar film, and that a film in which I laughed all the way through deserves the highest recommendation.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Joy

I love Christmas shopping. Perhaps I should be cynical about the purported crass commercialism of the entire season, but I just can’t summon the invective; all I can think of is the joy of guilt-free shopping. I have plenty of bile for people who don’t think the seasonal road safety warnings about refraining from speeding, drinking and driving, and driving while tired, don’t apply to them, however, when it comes to searching out the perfect gift for someone, something in me just glows.

In past years, I’ve started my Christmas shopping early to avoid the financial burden of trying to do it all in the last fortnight. That was my intention this year too, and I started off well enough. I bought one of my sisters the most gorgeous necklace from a small jewellery and gift shop just up the road from me.



After I bought it, I decided that I’d purchase all of my Christmas gifts for other people from small businesses in my suburb, rather than give my money to large chain stores.

Then the weeks started to slip by and I hadn’t bought any more gifts. I decided that the necklace would become a birthday present instead—for the same sister—and I reassessed my Christmas budget to reflect my income.

This shift has been less difficult than you might imagine. While I would love to give everyone a gift where money was no object, that delivered to them the pleasure of something they would not have treated themselves to, I have had the most fun seeking out less expensive presents that still manage, I think, to capture an aspect of the intended recipient’s interests.


A case in point is the present I found for my uncle who lives in the UK. I was browsing the shelves of another local shop—this one sells environmentally sustainable produced products—and considering getting him something called Gardener’s Soap, because in his retirement he does some part-time gardening work, maintaining a golf course. Then I came across a packet of golf tees made from corn polymer. One of the problems with golf tees is that they tend to get left on golf greens and because they’re usually made of petroleum-base plastic, they hang around forever. In addition to being biodegradable in the long term, in the shorter term the corn polymer tees last longer than the wood kind, which those concerned with the environment might otherwise buy, to the detriment of usability. So, I found a less expensive and, importantly, a lighter gift to put in the mail, and it’s one that encapsulated a better idea for my uncle, who also likes to play golf.


Some other gifts for various people that I found in the same shop include a crocodile ornament fashioned out of a tin can from Africa and some star-shaped shower timers, which surely everybody needs in these water-use conscious times. In the shop next door, I’ve become particularly fond of a product known as the Swanky Hanky. It’s another excellent idea for sending through the mail. The fabrics of the hankies are of the coolest prints, virtually guaranteeing that when the recipient of the hanky takes it out of her bag, for whatever purpose, she will receive a compliment on her excellent taste from everyone around her. And since I’m of the opinion that one can never receive too many compliments, I like to think that people will garner them when they pause to wipe the sweat from their brows using a Swanky Hanky gifted to them by me.

In my shopping, I haven’t always managed to stick to my promise to buy from small businesses. Even in these cases, however, the chosen gift has seemed just right for the intended recipient. I bought my other sister the Australian Idol Winner’s Journey album, by Damien Leith, which includes a bonus DVD of many of his performances throughout the show. It was on special at Target, but what makes this gift even more appropriate for this particular sister is not just that she liked Damien as a performer, but that she had missed watching the show’s finale. She’d asked me specifically if I’d taped it so she might borrow it, but I hadn’t, so the fact that I’ve been able to give some part of it to her in this way pleases me no end and, hopefully, it will please her too.

Another thing that I’ve taken to in time for Christmas has been origami. I’m sure there will be a more detailed post about it here in the future, but for now, I can’t tell you ,again, how much fun I’m having choosing the right model to create for someone to slip into a Christmas card as an small surprise.


Does all this sound sickeningly joyful? I can see why people get disillusioned by the focus on material things at Christmas time, but giving gifts is about far more than the physical object. It’s a clichĂ© to say ‘it’s the thought that counts’, but if you have considered the impulse or motivation behind the gifts you offer, and present them to your family and friends with sincerity, then there is so much joy and pleasure in the tradition of gift-giving (and receiving*) at this time of year.

Merry Christmas!

*For example, I was delighted to receive a jar of macadamia nuts from a friend who I know had gathered them from a tree in her garden. She dismissed it as a silly present, but for me, while there is the deliciousness of macadamia nuts, her gift recalled a particular conversation we’d had earlier in the year. Her gift revealed to me that she’s a good friend who cares about me because she remembers and honours the finer points of our friendship.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gastropod: Packet Mix-Up

This is what I ate for dinner tonight. I found the recipe on the back of some 'Spice Sensation' flavoured couscous that I tried.


The pictured couscous is actually a different variety to the one I expected to find in the 'Spice Sensation' packet. I worked out that it was the 'Tomato Tang' variety; obviously there was some mix up at the factory. Anyway, that accounts for why I bought the couscous at the greatly discounted price that I did.

The combination of chicken thighs with apricot, saffron, cinnamon and chilli, with sundried tomato wasn't entirely disasterous, but I think it would have gone better if I'd been able to make the intended match.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ceasefire

There’s been a lull in the hostilities between myself and Channel Nine this week. It’s true that Channel Nine probably doesn’t know they’re having a war with me and if they did know, I’m not sure they would care.

Eddie McGuire responds to the news that Channel Nine is at war with Galaxy

Anyway, over here at Chez Galaxy, the situation is tenuous at best. This week saw the final episode screen in the sixth season of The Sopranos. This brings to an end yet another season of erratic scheduling by Channel Nine of any programme that doesn’t register in the top ten of the OzTam ratings. For the first two weeks of the season, The Sopranos screened at 10.30pm Wednesdays, then without a word it wasn’t on for one week, then it was rescheduled to show at 5 minutes past midnight on Tuesday mornings—give or take 15 minutes.

The frustration of this approach to scheduling is that, as a viewer, you have a choice between staying up past midnight only to become even more tired, frustrated, and angry when The Sopranos doesn’t begin at the advertised time, or you set your P/D/V(C)R to record with a 20 minute buffer on either side. Clearly Channel Nine doesn’t believe in either the concept of a day job, efficient use of hard drive/disk/cassette capacity, or for that matter any kind of commitment to well-produced television.

Even as I write this there is a sense of bafflement that this week’s episode was even presented as a final, because as every fan of The Sopranos knows, the last season of the programme has 20 episodes instead of the usual thirteen. Quite when the Australian public will be privy to these apparently extra-seasonal episodes isn’t known by me, but perhaps if Nine’s programming executives have a nice Christmas they might deign to share them with the rest of us. (If you can’t tell, I’m really struggling to remain polite here.)

Of course, increasingly, there’s the alternative of by-passing Channel Nine altogether by downloading it, or waiting for the DVD release, as more than one of my colleagues and friends have chosen to do. I will have to do this as well, since I managed to miss at least ¼ of the episodes that were screened, which creates problems when cumulative narratives are at stake: one day Vincent was creeping back in to Jersey, then his head was being taken out of a freezer. I’m guessing something significant happened in between.

As I said, the ceasefire is tenuous, but I’ve been tempted back over the past two weeks, first by Weeds, which stars Mary-Louise Parker—who was just wonderful in Angels In America—as an over-privileged pot-dealing mom, struggling to hold onto the Range Rover after she is widowed. At this point—three or four episodes in; again, who can tell with Channel Nine, they seem to be playing double episodes and presenting them as one, except when they said they were repeating the first episode, at which point it became clear they had initially played two, because they did only repeat the first episode... Okay, I’ve lost the subject of the sentence before the break—that’ll happen in a rant—so I’ll start again: At this point, I like the way the Elizabeth Perkins character is written and performed. She is just horrible to her pre-pubescent daughter, harassing her to be thin and blaming societal norms. My goodness, she swapped her daughter’s chocolate stash for laxatives, which had a suitably disastrous outcome. The moment of her daughter’s revenge was quite brilliant.

I didn’t watch the return of Nip/Tuck last week because it’s a show I’ve only ever watched on DVD, but this week I tuned in. I’m not going to commit to it at this point. I started watching Men In Trees last night, and since I’m really expecting Channel Nine to get the scheduling wrong on that too, just because I like it*, I figure it will be easier to give up on Weeds and Men In Trees than Weeds, Men In Trees and Nip/Tuck.

Oh, Men In Trees takes me back to the pleasures of Northern Exposure. It’s an Alaska thing, a fish out of water thing, a Sex and the City Largest State in the Union thing.

What will I do about Rome though? Looking through the television schedule for this evening, I see Channel Nine has decided to give it another go, again, after unceremoniously pulling it after only two episodes had screened. Now it’s being shown as if there never was any extended break. Again, so much for cumulative narratives and complex characterisation that require your full and ongoing commitment to enjoy.

I have to believe there’s some kind of perfectly logical programme executives reasoning behind all of this inconsistency, however it’s a mindset I just can’t fathom. Surely the imperative of ratings only explains so much, especially when ratings has been about more than total numbers for a long time now. For goodness sake, I’m reading about programming strategies from the 1970s that identified the less populous ‘quality’ demographic—urban-dwelling and educated, so presumed affluent—for whom programmes were fashioned. On the one hand I’m loathe to use the logic of markets to make any argument, but if it means that programmes like The Sopranos, Deadwood and Six Feet Under get made, then I will assert the importance of considering this demographic.

At the moment, Channel Nine’s programming practices just seem arrogant and disrespectful to a sub-section of its viewers. I am tempted to say that they don’t understand the different viewing practices required by these programmes, because it seems to me that as a viewer it’s impossible to settle in to these programmes the way they are currently being pushed around, and often just plain pulled from the schedule. These programmes require more attention and have more of a memory within their narrative structure than some other kinds of programming. After a working day, it’s difficult to concentrate on The Sopranos after midnight. It would be better to watch from 10pm; that’s when the premiere screening occurs in the States. At the same time one of the expectations of television is that you view a programme on a regularly scheduled basis, and Channel Nine just never gives you the opportunity with these programmes. You miss the third episode and then the fifth due to unadvertised changes in the schedule, and then you think, ‘I’ve missed too much, the story doesn’t make sense any more, so I’ll wait for the DVD’.

I am tempted to say all that, but people tell me that programme executives have the same degrees that I do, that they consider scheduling an art and invest a great deal of time and research into that art. I can’t argue with that, which is why there must be some parallel-universe logic going on that I can’t fathom. All I know is that as a viewer Channel Nine have alienated me. I like some of the programmes they put on, but overall I don’t much like them. They’ve got a lot of work to do to regain my good will and so that is why this current truce is fragile. I’ll let you know how the negotiations go.

*I don’t mean to sound self-absorbed, rather, I’m referring to people who share my taste for this US premium cable channel drama, the kind that doesn’t rate sufficiently on network television in Australia.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

There Goes The Neighbourhood

Well, truth be told, the neighbourhood was shot long before anyone thought it was a good idea to hold a rock concert in a residential area; a series of alcohol-fueled sponsored football matches saw to that.

Tonight, the first of the Robbie Williams Brisbane concerts will be held practically across the road from me. I had a preview just before of the noise levels to expect over the next two evenings. Let's just say I will 'feel real love fill the home that I live in'.

Update: It's 10 minutes to 10pm, and I'm feeling the real love, right now. Boy those 50,000 people can sing. Yeah, Rabbie's not too bad, either. Sounds like it's been a bit of a best of Rabbie night. (I can't stop thinking of him as Rabbie, since like that other poet/lyricist, Rabbie (Burns), he has a reputation for lovin' the laydeez)

Another Update: Oh, now it's 10pm and Rabbie is entertaining us all. 'Let me entertain you! Let me entertain you!' Heh. It's quite the sing-along. Join in blogosphere! 'C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon! C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon!'

10.13 Update: 'And through it all she offers me protection, loving ...something ... and affection, whether I'm right or wrong ... something, something... Angels ... something, something... wherever it may take me ... I'm loving Angels... something, something'

10.20: 'Jump on board, take a ride, yeah ...' Big wooshing sounds... Lots of cheering ...Some incoherent words from Robbie ... More cheering

10.26: Beep, beep. Beep, beep. Well, those concert goers will insist on wandering out onto the road, irrespective of cars. Clearly, they're high on Rabbie.

10.37: 'Go Robbie! Go Robbie!' High-pitched, hysterical scream

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Point Of View


I was lying back beside a pool, contemplating going for a swim, wondering whether I would sink after eating more than my fair share of rice chips and prawn dip, and then I saw this perfect sky.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

98 Reasons For Blogging: 13



This is a photograph of me and one of my Sarsaparilla colleagues, David, who also has his own blog, Lorraine Crescent. We’re standing inside Soul Under The Moon an installation by Japanese artist,Yayoi Kusama, which is part of the Fifth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, now showing at the newly opened Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane until May.

I’m the one in the glowing t-shirt. David’s clothes were clearly more appropriate for delivering a conference paper—as he did earlier that day—than rendering him visible amongst the mirrors and glowing moons to your curious gazes.

The Gallery bought the work after the last APT in 2002 and, I’m proud to say, I made a small donation at the time towards its purchase. I love it. You enter the installation through an opaque sliding door, which closes behind you, onto a short catwalk platform surrounded by water. The water forms a reflective surface that works with the mirror-covered ceiling and walls to form the illusion of an infinite space. The various orange and green spheres are lit by the fluorescent purple lights, adding to the sense that you’re hurtling through outer space. You can stare into the distance forever.

Of course, the trick is not to become disoriented and hurtle into the water, a feat made more difficult if you’ve been drinking beforehand as David and I had both been. We were attending the Academic Viewing hosted by the Gallery as part of its programme for the combined opening of APT5 and its new premises. It was the Gallery’s education division that plied us with alcohol and encouraged us to wander amongst the art.

Normally I’d be too rules conscious to take a photo in an art gallery, but there I was, inebriated, teetering on the edge of space, and unduly influenced by David, whose first thought on entering the installation was whether or not a photo could be taken. I had to know too, and that’s how I discovered that at least three could be taken with my phone’s camera. David was also a bad influence on the two other people who were viewing Soul Under The Moon at the time. In the end, we all left the installation giggling like naughty children to the bemusement, I’m sure, of the Gallery staff member presiding over the automatic door.

Here, I should just note that we resisted running through another installation, this one comprised of intricately carved totem-like poles, arranged in a kind of forest. There were signs saying ‘Do Not Touch’, which was difficult, because their carved surfaces were just so inviting. I really wanted to walk amongst them and explore their surfaces with my finger tips. I had to fold my arms and rock from heel to toe, but I did not touch.

I’ll revisit the exhibition and write about it in more detail in another post, but for now, I just wanted to say how excellent it was to meet David and hang out with him for a bit. He’s the first blog person I’ve met that I haven’t already known outside of blogging.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Seryously

Has anyone else seen thys poster yn the foyer of cynemas lately? I take yt as a sygn of the forthcomyng Apocalypse:



Edyt: Sorry, that should be 'Y take yt as ...'

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gastropod: The T-shirt

This is not the post I told you I was preparing. No, that one will be much more angst-ridden, if it ever appears. And by posting this one, the whole point of the other one might be rendered moot, which may well be a good thing for all of us.

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Anyway, to 'Gastropod: The T-shirt'. This is the t-shirt I wore yesterday as I whiled the day away at home, catching up on taped episodes of Oz and The Sopranos.


From left to right (not necessarily in order of appearance):

1. Home-made pizza sauce (three spots). I wasn't going to be nearly so ambitious, but discovered I had no tomato paste, so I had to make a tomato sauce if I was going to satisfy my pizza craving. I used the last of the pita bread as a base for two small pizzas the first of which was topped with anchovies and kalamata olives. The second had feta cheese and dried chillis and oregano. I didn't have any melting type cheese, but I tend not to really like melted cheese on my pizzas. Drizzling olive oil does the job for my taste.

2. Chicken Thighs Braised with Apricots & Couscous (one large spot). This was
dinner the night before, and you may notice it has meat of the non-fish variety in it. I bought some chicken from the organic shop up the road during one of my infrequent moments of concern about my diagnosed iron deficiency. Not that chicken will do me much good on that score I suppose. Still, it was one of my better efforts at cooking meat after 8 years of veg-aquarianism. I had it for lunch, which is why it made it down the front of my t-shirt.


3. Pomegranate (one large purple spot). Pomegranates are the most visually pleasing fruit in the world, and since I like sweet/sour things, they're also one of the tastiest fruits in the world. Some might consider the seeds annoying, but I love the way they demand you savour each bubble.