Wednesday, November 03, 2010

For all my Aussie friends

(and Kiwis) who haven't carved a jack o'lantern... step by step. No blood lost.

Note: I took the bottom off the pumpkin. It makes it easier to put a candle in AND the "lid" doesn't shrivel over time and fall back into the "head".

Jack survived Halloween night out on our mailbox and is ready to play some games tonight!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

RIP Big Bird

From July travel - mostly OHIO

He was one of my squab - hatched 25 years ago and raised by hand and, thereby, doomed to a life of unrequited love of people. He always remembered me and greeted me with a hearty laugh and a flury of coos. He loved a bath or shower and whenever I was home I made sure he enjoyed one. This photo is from July 2010. A dear friend. The world has became more quiet.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Front Garden!

Eating Mexican in Brisbane

Just confirming - I still haven't found the Mexican Restaurant of my dreams. (And, I'd settle pretty much for Del Taco...though I'd do some pretty unscrupulous acts for Chipotle.) I was feeling heady with my successful morning, (was that sarcasm that just flew past?) and thought I'd check out "Enchiladas" in Aspley. All I wanted was a bean burrito. Kevin and I had stopped by a couple years ago one evening and thought the prices were much too high. But, I reasoned, for sure they'd have a lunch menu with more reasonable prices.


I went ahead and paid $17.95 for my bean burrito (CRAZY!!) expecting to find something mammoth - two fisted - exquisite. Only to find the entire burrito could fit on the palm of my hand - with a similar volume of beans and rice on the side and a few stale corn chips - no salsa. When will I learn???????????????

Is there anybody out there with some restaurant experience who would like to open a Chipotle in Brisbane??? I can guarantee you two frequent fliers - and I know there'd be more. Please. I'm begging!

There IS NO Thorn Street exit from the Clem 7!

I knew I had a doctor's appointment this morning at 8:30 - and Kevin arranged time off to come with me. Google maps, which is now dead to me, told us it would take 38 minutes to get across town. That didn't include "peak hour" traffic - so, we left at 7:20. (Our original plan was to leave at 7:00 - since I wanted to get there early, becuase I expected there'd be paperwork to complete.)

This was our first experience with the new supercool tunnel under Brisbane - The Clem 7. As it turned out, it was also our second and third experience. My instructions requried us to leave the Clem 7 at Thorn Street exit - turn right and then right onto Schafston Ave. The first exit from the Clem 7 is for Wynnum Road to Schafston. I thought we should take that - but I wasn't insistent AND we had not gone 3.7 km yet. So, we continued....until we ran out of the Clem 7 and onto the Ipswich Highway. Oh great.

So, we turned around.

There are no exits of any kind when traveling north. So, we found ourselves back on Lutwytch Road. Turned around and tried again.

Roads did not match up, but we had our refedex and pulled over to identify our own path. We found the clinic, made a potentially illegal U-turn, parked in the garage and sauntered into the clinic at pretty much exactly 8:30.

Only to find my appointment is next week.

I guess that explains why no one called yesterday to confirm my appointment.

Fitzgibbon Chase

Saturday I came home to find that Fitzgibbon Chase, the new development off "our" round-about, was having an open house. Free sausage!!!!!!!!!! And, more than 1/2 a dozen homes to walk through. (Walked through before eating - so my ability to count was impaired. Actually, there's more to the story than this. Later.)

I was SO impressed - I MUST have one!!!** They all had CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONING and DOORS that linked the GARAGE to the HOUSE!!! OMG!!! Civilization has come to Australia! They all had beautiful outdoor living areas - which Kevin reminded me, should they be "our" living areas and assuming we actually had furniture in them, would soon be covered in spider webs and gecko shit. Ah, Queensland. This is why we cannot have anything nice.

We finished our house tours about 2:10. That would be 10 minutes after the end of the "sausage sizzle". No joy for us.

**Spiders, gecko shit and money aside (outrageous money), we won't have one because there are no more lots available.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Aussiecon 4

From Melbourne - Aussie con
Though it was weeks ago and I have recently, in fact THAT weekend, told Kevin I was going to take a hiatus from this blog, I thought I might scribble down some impressions from MY first World Con.

World Con = World Science Fiction (Speculative Fiction??) Convention. I learned that "new" S-word translation of/from the acronym SF while there. I'm not sure if it has "usurped" Science when used in naming the convention. Let's face it, the first thing that should be said is

"I don't know much."

My first World Con SHOULD have been 30 years ago when that was all I read and I read a lot of it. Then I would have known the writers, at least. But, graduate school and John (oh dear! I have forgotten those 2 middle initials!) Staddon* got in the way. John was my first advisor at Duke and I think it was at my admission interview where he asked me what I read and was INCREDULOUS that I didn't read any non-fiction. I guess I internalized something of a message there: grown ups with graduate degrees were more broadly read. So, I stumbled into general fiction, mystery, thrillers... but couldn't grow enough hair on my chest to read non-fiction.

Since I knew so little, other than the 5 or 6 short stories that were nominated for HUGO awards, I was pretty ill prepared to select "panels" to attend. Therefore, I set a goal to create a reading list - to find a few new (oops, 'bout wrote science) speculative fiction authors or books that I might read to put myself back "in touch" with my roots. That took me to panels titled things like "The Best Books You've Never Heard Of". (What is most amazing about that panel was that I had actually READ one of those books: Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair". Thumb's up.)

When there were no appropriately themed panels (a panel being a collection of 2 or 3 or 4 people who sit at a long table facing a room a chairs, have microphones and a room title but often no real agenda, outline, purpose, or preparation) I floated. The first day this resulted in bitter disappointment. (You probably already picked up on that by the definition of panel provided above.) UGHHHHHHHHH. I wanted to run screaming from rooms as I listened to people have conversations about topics I knew nothing about and as a consequence never wanted to hear about again. Even a topic I thought I'd love - Ghost Stories Across Cultures - was a painful exercise in filling time with 4 voices. It was obvious that the panelists did not communicate before the panel about making an outline, establishing a theme, identifying relevant or important topics, ANYTHING. My rambling here is a taste of what I experienced. (Sorry.)

After the first day, I got smarter. I established my goal - see above - and when there was nothing I was pretty confident I'd enjoy, I decided to listen to people read - read out loud, I mean. And, in this way, I enjoyed the rest of the days. (Thanks, also, to enjoying the company of friends: Eric, Iain, Llyn, Aaron, Yasmine (who I must thank for the group photo).)

I guess this is the place to note that by far the MOST interesting events were scheduled for the kids' room. I'd drift by and peer in looking for other taller, older people building models, getting face paint... In particular, I really, really, really, really wanted to hear how they handled the discussion on Sunday, "Surviving the zombie apocalypse". (How did they handle the tricky questions like what to do about the dog - or baby?!! I can't maintain an objective viewpoint when Kevin and I discuss this - how do you tell a child that they need to dump the barking dog so as not to lead the zombies to the family hiding place??) I'm not totally sure they followed through with the scheduled discussion. All I saw happening was lego building. (Note: the discussion was scheduled to follow the 10 AM zombie make-up session. Not sure what side of the zombie apocalypse these folks are supporting.)
From Melbourne - Aussie con

Saturday night - Costume Competition. We RUSHED through dinner to get to the auditorium by 7 pm only to learn that the doors opened at 7 but the show didn't begin until 8. While I don't want to disparage any of the generous and talented folks who took the time and effort to create costumes, it was very disappointing that there was all this anticipation for a total of 10 costumers. Ten. OK. Maybe eight. I can only blame the lack of widespread Halloween celebrating in Australia.

Sunday night - The Hugo Awards. Fortunately, Australians have experience and understanding of award shows. They even have mastered the art of voting - with record setting numbers of votes being cast this year! This, I believe, is easily attributed to the practice of mandatory voting in Australia. (This is not to insult the Hugo nominees or winners - Maybe your entry was responsible for the increased voter turnout.)

Beyond the con- Other than making a special effort to see the casino "fire show" along the river, we only made one trip away from the convention. Sunday afternoon we strolled down to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) to see the Tim Burton exhibition. Very cool. No photography permitted. And, no time for Abba World. Sigh. (Note- link takes you to the MoMA Tim Burton site - the original location for this collection, I believe.)

From Melbourne - Aussie con

*Google confirmed the wispy memory floating forward - John E. R. Staddon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Work story

Been a long time since I've had one of those. I've had some (surprising) successes and some sad cases. The usual. Working too much for the next 6 weeks - but nothing can be done about that. I need a nap.

Anyway. Tuesday the nurses were entering microchip data into the computer. When people get a pet microchipped they need to provide both contact details for themselves and for a designated alternate party. I tell them this is the most important information on the form. "Think about someone who doesn't move or change their phone number, because while you may remember to change your details (I did after only living in Brisbane for 4 years!), your alternate contact will likely never think about it.

So, this form.

Alternate contact: Christ.

What's better - I've got his cell phone!

NOTE - This is ALL true. We didn't call Christ, however, so I don't know what he's been up to.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


From Singles 2010

"Pleased to meet you,Pygmy." Say, "I'm Reverend Tony."

Mouths of operative me say, "Happy to engage you, crafty stooge of superstition."

Mouths of operative me say, "how is you healthy, puppet of Satan?"

Worship leader fashion forehead to lift single hair brow arching above eye. Devil Tony preserve smile. Say, "This little young 'un needs to practice his English."

Pygmy is a foreign operative/terrorist who along with a cohort of similarly trained agents is "planted" in an American Junior High School. His observations of life in America (featuring school (of course), church, and Wal-Mart) are amusing in part because of the way they are expressed. His back story of becoming an agent is horrific - though to him it seems less so. After all, he's been prepared for this, learning early on the nature of good and evil and what god wants... He wants to hurt you but not feel bad about it.

Acclaimed instructor say, every today must human follow example given from deity. Action of mercy, say instructor, an insult to eye of deity. Say deity no display such mercy. Say operative acting mercy place self on top, standing on top head of deity. Envision self possess more wisdom deity.

Esteemed instructor say top deity ordains all living creation suffer -- wasted disease or screaming wearing covered blood-- then must some today all to die. Only tragedy if suffer and die during innocent. No sin, no crime, then extinction not earned. Such waste an affront to deity.

"Because all suffer then die," say instructor, stroking white fur rodent, "then operative must ear own some today extinction."

Justify future cruelty acts of deity. Make of deity no sadism, instead vast wisdom judge....

More sin, more crime, say instructor, more deity will rejoice upon extinction of operative.

While I found parts of this to be very amusing, it was ALWAYS quite challenging to read. I only "got better" at reading this dialect by skipping over the longer descriptions.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

West End(ish) - Wall Art Tour

It was a beautiful day and as it turns out the store I wanted to shop in didn't open at 9 AM. They opened at 10. More time to stroll.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Miss Zelda is a very, very, very, very bad dog

From art plus

Meanwhile, Zelda, problem child, had to have a foreign body removed yesterday. It's about time. Given all the things I've watched her, stopped her from, and failed to stop her from eating!

I had seen that she demolished one of my socks one night last week when I was so tired I went to bed at 8 (and I swear that I put that sock in the hamper....the OTHER one was there). That is to say I found pieces of it the next morning. On Sunday we took her for a walk and Kevin was complaining that she wasn't acting right...when she stopped and vomited up sock strips. I picked them up with the poo bag(!) and we headed home. She vomited several more times - at least 2 or 3 times on the walk and then 6 or more times after we got home. I took her in to the clinic and placed an IV and took an xray.... and checked her on Monday. She was better but not right. We tried a smooth muscle relaxant since my boss thought it might just be cramping and she felt better and slept peacefully through the night. The next morning she was still uncomfortable, so I scheduled an u/s for her and - foreign body. It ended up being some blue rubbery thing I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!!!!!!!! She finds weird treasures (mostly bones but perhaps blue rubbery things, too) in our backyard. She is a very, very, very bad girl. The bowel didn't look overly healthy, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that it all goes well.

She's wreaking havoc at the clinic today without me. (Chewed her IV line into three pieces, urinated all over her bedding, and then - and THIS is very impressive - she chewed the power cord to the heating pad they gave her. Last I heard they still hadn't restored the reception computers! Cringe with embarrassment.)

Tomorrow - I'll bring her home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday afternoon guests

From mid August

At our back door. I'm not sure what these magpies had in mind but they were very forward! Afterward, I looked out to see they had a third friend "hanging" with them. A kookaburra.

From mid August

Which leads us to

Our car.

Once we got back to Brisbane (no additional problems) we left the engine running and dashed inside to change our clothes and pick up Zelda. Then, we drove to Aspley Automotive and turned the engine off. (Yep. It wouldn't restart.) We thought we could get the car to the garage and give Zelda a good walk on a beautiful sunny day. Perfect! Finally, a plan that was going to work!

Little did we anticipate that there would be a BONUS. Our walk took us past the Aspley State High School where their school sign informed us that they were performing "The Wiz" on Tuesday! Wow! I had to see this!!

Kevin is so agreeable. He did approach me later, after the heat of the excitement when I was no longer repeating the very few lines I know of "Ease on Down the Road" ("Come on now....ease on down, ease on down the ro-oad."), to let me know this was probably not going to be a "Glee" moment.

"Oh,no. I know that. I'm not expecting "Glee" performances."

I have been to High School musicals. I have been IN High School musicals.

Funny thing, though. It wasn't 10 minutes into Tuesday night's performance, when Dorothy is struggling to be heard off-key over the overly loud and similarly though differently off tune band, that Kevin leaned over and confessed HE was expecting something a bit more "Glee" -ful.

From mid August

We had such fun! I'm fully convinced we were the only members of the audience that might have been labeled "General Public" (as my call the day before to enquire whether I could purchase a ticket at the door was met by the need to put me on hold for three minutes while they figured out (pedophile!!!!) whether that would be possible.) The Scarecrow was good - and it makes more sense for the Scarecrow to be female than for the Tin Man (who was now the Tin Girl). The Lion, the Whiz, and the Wicked Witch (Evilene) approached their parts with zest and were great audience favorites. (Interestingly, they were really the only men performing - - yes, the Wicked Witch of the West was played by a man.) I cannot say that anyone had a particularly good or bad voice because the sound control was really, really, really abysmal. (Sound was provided by the 11th and 12th year Sound Production Classes. These students are not ready for the real world.) We are, of course, going to hang onto our programs for the next 20 years in case someone becomes FAMOUS.

Gold Coast Sunday

Ah. Doesn't that sound great. But, wait.

Car battery dead.

And, this time it is not my fault. Really.

We wanted to be away before 7 AM since we were anticipating a 90 minute drive. We came close - 7:06 - after charging the battery with one of our best Australian investments. On the way down we passed Ikea and the Daisy Hill Koala Park (you thought I'd say puppy farm - admit it).

"We should stop on the way home. See what Ikea wonders we can't live without. Actually stop and visit the park."

"After we take a walk on the beach."

From mid August

We made it to the Yacht Club in just over an hour - right on time for Paul and Kim's wedding reception breakfast. The food was great and the company excellent and we got a new deck of Tichu cards! Although you can hardly tell with my lousy under-exposed, overly back lit photograph of cake cutting (fruit cake - very Australian), Kim looked very, very glamorous. Probably with an extra "u".

Afterward, we debated. Do we walk to the beach, leaving the car in the lot since it won't start again? Or, do we jump it and dash for home without another "stop"? This was a day when having a mobile phone might have availed us with a modicum of comfort.

We opted to head directly home. Our only beach time on the Gold Coast being the view from the club and our little umbrella/chair seating assignments.
From mid August

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday off!!

This is my first weekend off since our trip to the US. (For those of you who aren't living my life, that would be three consecutive weekends of work.) Yippee! That is the only thing I can think, say, do! That, and make a sojourn to Roma Street to take a few photographs.

I'm not sure what's going on - if I'm going through a more picky phase or if my camera focus is failing or if I'm just taking some lousy photographs...but really I have nothing to show from last Sunday's visit to the Ekka (without photographs nothing really least in my blog.) From today - only a couple. Because it is already 7:41 and I turn into a pumpkin at 8 PM - even on my days off - I'm going to cheat and just throw up the slide show. What I like in particular: the stamen of the white flower (some sort of vine) looks like a collection of dancers, the black and white image of the poppy, and the ducklings. Who doesn't love a duckling?

Breaking Bad

We've just finished binging on three seasons of "Breaking Bad" and my withdrawal symptoms are starting. Wow. The last season. The last episode. The last 3 minutes. How am I supposed to go without until July 2011???

If you haven't taken time to watch the series, run now to your local library. Join me in my pain.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Official!!

From art plus

July 28. 7:30 PM. We were oathed, registered, certificated, and given our own tree to plant.

From art plus

At Long Last : Ron Mueck

Finally! We braved the crowds to see the Ron Mueck exhibit at the GoMA. The smartest thing we've done in a long time - arrive when the gallery opened at 9 AM. Highlights/thoughts. (Everything has to be done quickly these days!)

From art plus

She's still our favorite.
From art plus

The scale is sometimes oversized and sometimes undersized. The detail captured by Mueck in these pieces is astounding. Here. Have a look.
From art plus

What I liked most was trying to get a photo (and I'm not suggesting I was very successful at it - it was mostly a mental exercise..."wouldn't it be neat") of people "interacting" with these very lifelike creations.

From art plus

From art plus

From art plus

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Photoshop Sees the World

From July travel - mostly OHIO


From July travel - mostly OHIO

Ohio Photo Blog 6: To Fly

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

Ohio Photo Blog 5: Troy

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

Ohio Photo Blog 4: Versailles Elementary School

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

Ohio Photo Blog 3: Versailles

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

Ohio Photo Blog 2: Ohio Wildflowers

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

Ohio Photo Blog 1: Michael's Garden

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

From July travel - mostly OHIO

Things have been busy...

July has sped by. Primarily thanks to a very good, successful trip to the US! Two weeks - one in Texas visiting with friends and family and one (short) in Ohio in Versailles. Thank you to everyone who has managed to maintain any interest in this blog as it has become so very much unreliable...and will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. And, probably beyond that.

I'm tired now and it is almost 9 PM. My reasonable self suggests I close the book on July and except for posting some photos, I will listen to this woman. She's getting older...must make her wiser.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You can't get better than this!

The music! The costumes! The whistle!!

Let the Right One In

From Singles 2010

A good place. That's what people said to each other over the kitchen table a month or so after they had moved in.

'It's a good place we've come to.'

Only one thing was missing. A past. At school the children didn't get to do any special projects about Blackeberg's history because there wasn't one. That is to say, there was something about an old mill. A tobacco king. Some strange old buildings down by the water. But that was a long time ago and without any connection to the present.

Where the three-storied apartment buildings now stood there had been only forest before.

You were beyond the grasp of the mysteries of the past: There wasn't even a church. Nine thousand inhabitants and no church.

That tells you something about the modernity of the place, in its rationality. It tells you something of how free they were from the ghosts of history and of terror.

It explains in part how unprepared they were.

Have you got a chill yet????? OOOOOOOOOOOO! This book was a thrill - as was the movie. Everyone who has ever loved a ghoul should pick up one or the other!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A musical interlude

My mother sent me off to find the music in a commercial. She told me Toyota and Safety Star System and Rethink the Possible. After mixing and matching I found it was an AT&T commercial with the slogan "Rethink the Possible" - but Toyota and "Safety Star" they do go together but not with the music haunting her : Gene Wilder singing "Pure Imagination" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". (This seems like the time to come down firmly on the Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka ticket. Sorry Johnny Depp.) Anyway, as YouTube does for me- one thing led to another and so we have today's musical interlude. ENJOY!!!!!!

"There is no place I know ..."

Friday, June 04, 2010

June 5 - what we are not doing

From Singles 2010
National Whale Day! No whales seen in Fitzgibbon. See photo.

Music for Dogs!! Laurie Anderson had a concert this afternoon in Sydney - written just for dogs with primarily dog pitched notes. Damn. I could have swung it, but not with Zelda. And, if you can't take your dog to the first concert written specifically for a canine audience, then what kind of dog lover ARE YOU??? I'm hoping to find something posted on youtube.