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.