Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fall in Brisbane's Roma Street Parklands

The poppies are just starting to bloom... with winter just around the corner. My mind begins it's meltdown. I must turn away from the calendar. June cannot be winter. And, how can Christmas be so far away?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Arsonist's Guide to Writer's Homes in New England: A Novel

From Singles 2010
You never ask your son about how he feels about the suicide of his father's lover, just as you never ask your mother how she feels about killing your father, just as you never answer your mother when she asks whether she looks her age.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My New Career!

I've been doing this same shtick for over TEN years now and so it is TIME, past time, for finding a new path. And, on Saturday May 15, there was a great light shone down from heaven and we discovered, that is the we of Kevin and I rather than the royal "we", Roller Derby.

Roller Derby in Brisbane is held on a flat track in one of the ballrooms of the Convention Centre - and there is none of the elbow-in-the-face violence we were expecting, having first watched "Kansas City Bomber" -- you know, so we'd be ready.

This was the second match this year between the Love Rockettes (in pink) and the Diner Might Dolls (in yellow). The Dolls had won the first so we thought we support the "underdogs". That didn't help. It seems they had a serious problem keeping their jammer (she who jams and scores points) off the penalty bench. And, with a jammer on the bench, there is no opportunity to score.

Quick Roller Derby Rules - on the track at most are 5 members of each team: a Pivot who has the job of setting the pace at which the pack circles the track, 3 Blockers who both try to assist their jammer in navigating the pack and to block the opposing jammer from passing through the pack, and a Jammer (wearing a star on her helmet) who scores a point for each member of the opposing team she passes AFTER the first pass.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brisbane in the Evening and a Failure of Art

From Singles 2010
I have been so slack in maintaining this journal and not because we've been doing nothing. Heck, if you count cleaning the air vent in the shower, 2 partial water changes in the aquarium AND buying a new heat lamp, I've been positively busy.

From Singles 2010

We're continuing to enjoy the GOMA's New Zealand Unnerved! exhibition - finding the films to be far more interesting than the non-movie art. This means that in the last month we've made 4 trips to the museum to watch feature films including "Black Sheep", zombie-like sheep attacking people - the ultimate fear of all Kiwis!, but NOT "Eagle versus Shark", which we'd seen before and would have definitely re-watched but we were called away by Tichu. Some of these have kept us in the city after dark, so we've been free to enjoy the city lights reflected on the Brisbane River.

From Singles 2010

We took in the new "Hats!" exhibition in the Brisbane Art Museum... but NOT the new exhibition by Ron Mueck - sculpture of the Giant Lady in Bed that we've loved so much.

From Singles 2010

This, by the way, is the failure of art. Our failure. Our unwillingness to stand in this line that doesn't end at the building but goes all the way to the BACK of the lobby and then makes a 180 degree turn and continues. And, that's just to buy the ticket!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The numbers: 20, 27, 1

From Singles 2010
Number of questions correct out of 20 on the citizenship exam. (I've let Kevin know that at the citizenship oath ceremony they will, no doubt, want the 20s in the front row. Nineteens can stand behind. He reminds me I got to take the EASY test - the one WITHOUT all the sports related questions. Yeah. Sure.)

Score on the Autism Spectrum Instrument- out of 50, I believe. It's easy to score high if you have any social anxiety. I thought my inability to remember a phone number long enough to dial it would keep me on the more healthy end of the continuum. But, no.

Number of fish still alive on the 5th of May. One week after populating the tank.

The Death Dealer

From Singles 2010

You would think it would be the most natural thing in the world. There you go. You’re dead. Live with it.

These were the first lines of the book and the best. I don't like the structure of having two readers (audio book).

Monday, May 03, 2010

Still not dead

From Singles 2010
Though this orange fish is being sadly persecuted and has to hide to get any peace.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Just can't stop New Zealand

I had a few more thoughts about New Zealand. I figured I'd never get to them. Days go by...endlessly pulling you into the future...(Laurie Anderson). For example, I thought I'd surely have cool things to post from today's Big Sunday Excursion - Buddha's Birthday combined with a new exhibit at the GOMA: New Zealand Noir. But, no sooner had we entered the GOMA and looked upon the giant inflatable rabbit who looks like Thumper, but isn't, really Mr. Disney, then I discovered that my camera battery was dead. (The fish - alive. The battery - dead.) I had NOT listened to the little voice that suggested I bring along my spare battery. Sigh. And, if I have no photographs, I really have nothing much to say.

So, back to New Zealand. The real New Zealand. Time to reflect back on a few things I thought you'd really want to know.

THOUGHT NUMBER ONE: Signs. I never expected to find street signs that I'd never encountered before. Naive, I suppose.

Sign on highway. "Slumps". Obviously something to beware. A slump can get in the way of a really good time.

When something is important, New Zealand marks it with an exclamation point!! Danger! Flooding! or my favorite: Cow!
From New Zealand

The "road construction" sign give me pause. It most closely resembles a man digging a grave. (Not a very good example. I waited til the last minute to decide I needed to bring this home.)
From New Zealand

And, what is this? Kevin and I had only one thought. Breasts on the highway. We just aren't sure why.
From New Zealand

Other signs. The zoo in Wellington was full of these marvelous signs - full of drama and danger. Don't feed the animals or they'll get sick and die. And, they'd show you an animal sick and then DEAD. Or, "If you sit on the fence you WILL fall in." And, then you'll be stamped to death by the blood thirsty zebra!
From New Zealand

From Queenstown.
From New Zealand

If you're going to NZ (or Australia, as I've learned from Mr. Google. Oh, wow!), it is important to find an EXCELOO. We found three - and there are likely more: Franz Josef, Invercargill, and Kaikoura. These are "Self Managing Toilet Modules". Its like walking into a tin (ok, stainless steel) can. Once inside the door automatically locks and the muzak plays. Flushing, paper dispensing, soap dispensing, rinsing is all automated. But, don't get too cozy. After 10 minutes you will be driven from the commode: sirens wail, lights flash and door flies open and, no doubt, the toilet cops appear.
From New Zealand


This is just a helpful hint. In New Zealand you have to match the stamp to the right mail box. There is at least one, and I think two, private mail carriers beyond the federal government. And, the NZPO is not willing to deliver postcards with the wrong kind of stamp. We were just lucky we stopped in the post office for something else or we would have chucked our stack of postcards in the wrong kind of box. (That is probably what happened to the card I sent you. Sorry.)
From New Zealand

FINALLY: Speaking New Zealand.

Kevin and I are not good with accents. We've been living in Australia for four years and NO ONE has EVER mistaken us for locals. Canadians, yes. And, we've NEVER lived there! But, we can speak a few words of Kiwi - and you can, too!

First: One adult female human = woman (woom-uhn)
Two or more adult female persons = woman (woom-uhn)

Can't hear the difference? That's right! Bingo! You're speaking Kiwi.

We learned that from Anna and Andrew before our trip. We were ready.

In Kaikoura we learned another word. We were watching a morning television program featuring a school where the kids had brought in their pets to share. One boy's dog (or cow or pig or sheep - I'm not really sure) was named BEER. And, they went further to clarify - that's BEER like the animal in the woods not the drink.

Tada! Like us, you're almost fluent!

Not Dead Yet

From Singles 2010
I got a surprise day off last week, Wednesday. And, so I thought I'd buy myself a gift for my birthday. My intention was to find a ready to assemble raised garden bed but I couldn't find anything like that at Bunnings. So, I did the next best thing.

I bought fish.

I've had the aquarium set up with water and plants and too many snails for more than a year now. There was a time when I was trying to get the water perfect - taking samples into the store. But I couldn't seem to move the pH. So, I quit.

Anyway, I decided I'd be heartless and behave as probably 90% of aquarium owners do and JUST BUY FISH. To hell with getting the water to be desirable. There'd be virtually no aquariums in private homes if it was absolutely required for a freshwater tank. (I know I'm sounding very fish unfriendly here. It happens at 49.)

I asked the young woman at the store about which fish I couldn't kill. She suggested Mollies or Platies. I guess that guppies and neons (fish I had been considering) are the canaries in the mines of freshwater tanks. If there's anything out of whack, they're dead.


I took home 3 mollies. I was told to keep my receipt. The store had a health guarantee of 10 days. Surely, I could keep a fish for 10 days, I thought and discarded the receipt.

The black molly sank to the bottom of the tank while the white (ish) and orange one toured the attractions.

By night the black molly was dead, dead, dead.


But, here it is Sunday. Each morning I turn on the light and feed the fish and think: go ahead, say it with me: NOT DEAD YET.