Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ice Queen

Be careful what you wish for. I know that for a fact. Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things. They burn your tongue the moment they're spoken and you can never take them back. They bruise and bake and come back to haunt you.

I picked up this book on Sunday morning to take with me to read on the train to the city. It was light. Paperback. 211 pages. Easy to read.

So easy that I couldn't put it down. I finished it on Monday. That is something that is well nigh never heard around here! I nurse books for weeks, for months! I have one I brought from the US- I've been reading it for about 10 years.

Anyway, Alice Hoffman tells a fairy tale for grownups: magic and secrets and monsters and tragedy. But, it isn't a fantasy. The cat doesn't talk. The monsters are monsters of circumstance. The tragedy is the tragedy of life- accidents on icy roads, ill-timed promises, lightening strikes, hunting cats.

It was a pleasure to read AND very helpful. I know now the way to control the burning heat of one struck by lighting.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A little dance

Last night we finished watching the third season of "The Venture Brothers" where we were introduced to the Christian superhero "Bibleman". !! This, of course, sent Kevin and I scrambling to YouTube to learn more. And, was it worth it! Just check out this scene featuring the villain "Shadow of a Doubt".

Speaking of looking up

I gave myself the assignment. Look up.

Kevin is busy preparing to take a test tomorrow. Very busy. I'm trying to stay out of his hair and, simultaneously and conveniently, enjoy the beautiful, sunny, cool weather. So, I took the train into the city and spent a couple hours wandering through Roma Street Parklands with my camera.

As of this moment, the moment of writing, I haven't seen any of the photos I took. I'm trying to get into the swing of this camera and the concept of blind photography. I point the camera in the general direction of the object I want to photograph. Push the button. Laugh as I look at the screen afterwards- because I still can't tell what the composition looks like or if the image is in focus. It all depends on luck and the ability to crop with photoshop. Someday, I'll save up some pennies and buy a single lens reflex camera- with a view finder.

Last night I dreamed

I had to repeat the third grade. Not as a 9 year old. No, as a 47 year old. I figured it was going to be a pretty easy job and wondered if, maybe, I could test out of it...but then considered that I knew next to nothing about Australian history and geography.

I often find myself back in school. Sometimes, I'm teaching. More often, I'm a student. And, usually, it is the end of the term and I've not attended any classes. How will I complete all the assignments and pass the final with only the weekend to prepare?

This was a novelty, however. Grade school. And, the feeling of certain success.

I'd guess things are looking up for me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Shipping News

why don't you "drive around and learn all four of our roads"?

Today I finished listening to "The Shipping News" on CD. Another story of imperfect, difficult, and true love by the author of everybody's favorite writer of gay cowboy stories... I mean "Brokeback Mountain". I have no other experience of Annie Proulx - so I have to compare. Well, maybe I don't HAVE TO, but I feel it is a reasonable thing to do. Both are stories of finding and losing love -though very different loves and by this I do not mean different by sexual orientation, but rather passionate, overwhelming, consuming love as compared to warm, safe, companionable love - set in remarkable, isolated, vast and beautiful landscapes. In the case of "The Shipping News", it is Newfoundland (in which, I learned, not everyone would consider Canada a foreign country.) I would have liked to have held these words in my hands and lingered over her descriptions of bleak, beautiful, desolate, and destructive winter. Brrrrr. Pass my tea.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From "The Star"

We had a really slow morning yesterday. This gave me ample opportunity to read the local paper, "The Star". I don't usually do this. If I did, I'd have probably known what PCYC care was and would not have read the article "Parents urged to book PCYC care". It never is defined though the implication is that it is some sort of day camp for kids during their school break. The list of activities excited me, however.

"We offer a wide range of organised sport and recreation activities which include art and craft, cooking, martial arts, indoor and outdoor games as well as exciting excursions and incursions."

Hmmmm. Incursions. A sortie into New South Wales? A foray into Figi? An attack on Aukland?

Obviously the choice of page with an article on Vietnam veterans and land mines in S.E. Asia was appropriate!

So, a little Sinead. Incursions to follow the cookies and milk break.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mark your calendars! - not

This morning I received this notice in my email. I am not sure how it translates into Southern Hemisphere. I guess I need to do a little research. Soon.

Two moons on 27 August 2008

27th Aug the Whole World is waiting for.........

Planet Mars will be the brightest in the night sky starting August.

It will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. This will
Cultivate on Aug. 27 when Mars comes within 34.65M miles off
earth. Be Sure to watch the sky on Aug. 27 12:30 am .
It will look like the earth has 2 moons.
The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

Share this with your friends as NO ONE ALIVE TODAY will ever see it Again.

This will cultivate?? I'm not sure I understand that.

And, the NO ONE you feel challenged by that statement? or is it only me?

UPDATE: Kevin- making note of the interesting grammar- did a bit of research and reveals that this email is a hoax. Here's the link if you want the details:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Zombie Haiku

You'll recall I had today off. Therefore, I had plenty of time to do my qi gong AND log onto Youtube before breakfast. Log onto Youtube and find this: Zombie Haiku. My absolute favorite:

I love my Mama
I ate her with my mouth closed
How she would want it

My Monday Off

It has a nice ring to it! I think I should say it more often...

I'm having a great time. I called my friend, Christine, and learned she's having a baby girl. Then, I mailed off a gift to her- which I had purchased weeks ago. It isn't very girly - but I don't think Christine will mind. I then did a little shopping. I bought a picture to hang in the kitchen. I couldn't turn it down. It was marked down from $140 to $30. Now, I need to rig up something so it hangs a bit lower. Kevin won't mind it. His "eye level" is ringed with clouds. I also picked up a small palm tree. I keep looking for something Zelda will feel is meditation worthy. And, two Mexican sage plants. They were some of my favorite sages in NC. Rapidly growing with big, purple, fuzzy flowers. I also bought a couple of cards. (I better write Uncle Carroll's after I finish here.) I stopped in at a pet store that is going out of buisness and enquired about purchasing a fully set up aquarium. They have 8 to 10 that will be available after the 8th of September. I have the perfect spot...except for a lack of POWER. Maybe I could run a cord from the bedroom. Now, it is time to finish Kevin's birthday gift, pull the meat off the ham hock I cooked yesterday, and bake my molasses cookies.

Nowhere here have you seen the words vacuum, laundry, or iron.

All is good.

In celebration- a little love ballad. I found this yesterday while I was stumbling around youtube. It is a much younger George Benson. Much younger and sweatier. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This one is for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere

Here, it is still winter. Spring officially arrives September 1st. A long way from summer. But, you are there. And, look what I've found! Sometimes you need to go find what George Benson and Al Jarreau are up to. Enjoy!

Not a care in the world.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Zelda with her showbag treasure

Here's my first attempt at making a video with my camera. You'll see- I need practice. Zelda, on the other hand, is very good at what she does. I must learn to open the blinds before letting her loose with a balloon in the ballroom.


It is no longer EKKA day. Something just as special. My day off. And, while I need to get a birthday card ready for my Uncle Carroll and prepare Christine's and Nan's gifts to mail, I am instead playing with Photoshop and writing up- or at least planning to write up- our recent EKKA EKKsperience.

We went on Sunday. My goal was to beat the crowds and go early. Alas, we are not good at beating crowds. Kevin was frustrated that he only bought a ticket to the city and not a week-long pass to the city...until he was boarding the train and remembered. He would have been really miffed if he'd purchased the pass because he only had to go into work on Monday. Providence. Its not just in Rhode Island.

After a prolonged wait on the sidewalk - no- footpath outside the entrance, we approached the small rectangular hole cut into the 10 inch deep cement wall and bought our EKKA tickets. $22. That seems really expensive for entrance to a fair. I tried to check the price for entrance to the Ohio State Fair for comparison, but as the fair has closed for the year, that information is no longer available.

I've already reviewed the highlights for you. This is just to provide the visual log - not to be confused with the auditory log that WOULD hear if a tree fell in the forest. I've tried something new- and posted the comments about the photos as titles. You may have to replay- I cannot figure out how to increase the amount of time that each photo is displayed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Tomorrow is Ekka Day. Ekka is Australian for Exposition which is Australian for "The State Fair". Around here (to Kevin and I) Ekka Day is known as "the last holiday until Christmas". What sort of country does something like this??? Surely, there is some historic figure with a birthday or a landing or a discovery that would warrant a day off - say, in October? Kevin and I need to lobby for a holiday situation like my cousin Steve has in South Carolina- where they (state employees) take off not only for national holidays but for all the Confederate holidays, as well. The 4th of July, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving at a minimum. Deluxe package to include Memorial Day, Labor Day (I'll even spell it with a "u", it that would help) and Martin Luther King Day.

Anyway, tomorrow - you'll never guess- Kevin is celebrating with a Big Gaming Event.

We spent last Sunday at "The Exposition". Three hours before the crush of humanity got to be overwhelming. That was enough time to take in my "must sees": a quick run through some of the animal barns, the dog show, the produce and flower displays, and the fine arts competition. We missed the midway and the "man-cutting-wood-with-axe" competition. And, the show bags.

Showbags. They are quite the tradition here. A showbag is a plastic shopping bag filled with stuff- like samples of chips and a ball cap, or six candy bars and a training bra. Honest to god, they fill an entire page in the newspaper with descriptions of all the show bags that will be available FOR PURCHASE. I'm trying to make sense of them- I think that "Christmas stocking" is perhaps more accurate a description than "Halloween bag" - though I suspect that it is the absence of a candy orgy in October that created the emptiness of the soul that showbags fill. A very clever merchandising scheme, Australians get hooked on "Power Ranger" bags as kids... and find as they mature- there is always a showbag designed for them. "My Pretty Pony" gives way to "Perfume" samples. "Ninja Turtles" to "Footie team with beer". Maybe I sound bitter. Maybe I need a little showbag in my life. What would that be.... "Muscle relaxant + Estrogen". Sign me up.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I Am Legend

But are his needs more shocking than the needs of other animals and men? Are his deeds more outrageous than the deeds of the parent who drained the spirit from his child? The vampire may foster quickened heartbeats and levitated hair. But, is he worse than the parent who gave to society a neurotic child who became a politician? Is he worse than the manufacturer who set up a foundations with the money he made by handling bombs and guns to suicidal nationalists? Is he worse than the distiller who gave bastardized grain juice to stultify further the brains of those who, sober, were incapable of a progressive thought?... Really, now, search your soul, lovie - is the vampire so bad?

All he does is drink blood.

What fun! It hasn't been too long since we watched the movie- and the first thing Kevin did after we finished the film was to request a copy of the book from the library for me. Thank you, Kevin.

I got a little bored with Robert's obsession with sex - not having sex and being tormented by lust inspired by the female vampires - and his drinking. Part of that was possibly the inertia of my prior identification of Will Smith as Robert. Part of it is that it is completely outside of my range of experience... unlike confronting the undead. In contrast with the Will Smith movie version of Robert Neville, the novel Neville is a blue collar factory man who has to learn biology from scratch in order to understand the vampires. As a consequence, the reader has a greater understanding of the makings of these ghouls than the movie viewer. I liked that. Most importantly, the end of the book was very, very different from that of the movie. And, while I enjoyed the movie - especially the dog and the dog vampires - the conclusion of the novel (novelette?) was far superior. "I am legend."

Reminded me a bit of Bradbury's "The Million-Year Picnic"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

And, now for a little Kipling

I will remember what I was. I am sick of rope and chain.
I will remember my old strength
And all of my forest affairs.
I will not sell my back to man
For a bundle of sugar-cane.
I will go out to my own kind
And the wood-folk in their lairs.
I will go out until the day.
Until the morning break,
Out to the winds’ untainted kiss,
The water ’s clean caress.
I will forget my ankle-ring
And snap my picket-stake.
I will revisit my lost loves
And playmates, masterless.

–Rudyard Kipling, “The Captive’s Dream”

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The weekly word

One day two weeks ago when I had the day off, Rob and Kayla came up with the idea that we would all start enhancing our vocabulary. Each week we would each bring a new word into the clinic to share. The word was supposed to be something you've encountered but didn't really know. You'd look that up then educate everyone.

My first word was halcyon (peaceful or heavenly). Last week it was alliteration. I cheated with that word. I already knew it. Thanks, Tim.

But, this is not a story of my words. This is a story of Rob's word. Rob's word for next week.

First, an aside. Rob and Di crack me up. They cannot contain themselves. I wanted to write that they cannot keep a secret- but that may be an exaggeration. They certainly can't keep their next word to themselves until the day of the unveiling. With Di, it went like this.

"You won't get it. My word is oology"

Ann sez "The study of eggs". (It really helps to learn a bit of Latin when embarking on a career in a medical science.)


Back to the story.

Rob tells me today that he's got his word ready for next week. He's got a big smile. He likes this word and he's hoping he has a word I don't know.

"It's querulous". (See, I told you. They can't keep it in.)

"Argumentative." I said.

"Not quite," he corrected. "It means to be argumentative about trivial matters."

To which Kevin adds- "They say Americans don't understand irony."

Fill up

I stopped today at the Caltex station that is conveniently placed between home and work. It is Saturday and even at 9 AM all but one pump was in use. Well, there were two pumps- but that first pump- the first one I pulled up to was "out of order". So, I say, there was only one available pump.

Number 15.

I filled our tank. ($1.42/liter- it takes higher math to convert that to gallons.) I went inside and was surprised that there was only one person ahead of me at the counter.

"I'll take this bottle of oil." (A good thing to keep handy. Saint Michael has been a bit haphazard with our protection, lately. That's another story.) "And, I have gas on pump 15."

"You mean petrol" the clerk said.

"Yes". Internal dialog- "Argh. Gas- petrol. Petrol - gas. Is it absolutely necessary to correct me? How many pumps do you have numbered 15????" I didn't say any of this.

And, now I have to explain that in Australia there is some sort of fuel they call "Auto gas" or "L.P. gas" that some cars use. I have NO IDEA what this is- except it is cheaper than diesel fuel or normal GASOLINE - I mean petrol.

The exchange between the clerk and I continued.

"In the US, they call everything gas?" She asked.

"Yes." I answered. A bit surprised to not be Canadian.

"What do they call L.P. gas?"

"Uh, don't know. I don't think we have that." I answered. I'm sure I had a confused expression on my face.

"Then", now she is perplexed, "nobody uses gas?"

"No, everybody does."

The man behind me laughed.