Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pegasus Descending

From Singles 2011

...If age brings either wisdom or answers to ancient questions, it has made an exception for me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rain, Water, Flooding...

From Singles 2011
Seems like any blog from Queensland Australia needs to make mention of rain.

We've had a lot.

Really. A lot.

Kevin and I have been very fortunate. Our home has stayed dry as did both of our work places. Our hearts go out to those who were less lucky.

The rain, rain, rain did result in some interesting new behavior in our backyard. In order to avoid the marsh that the ground has become, one of our local butcher birds has found a new perch from which to survey his world.
From Singles 2011

Year in Review....

From Christmas 2010

Happy New Year (‘s eve, eve, eve)!

Hope this holiday/post holiday season finds you warm and safe and dry. Here, we’re warm and safe and anything but dry. It rains. And then, it rains some more. Then, again. From a quick look at the Qld weather map it looks like we’ve received somewhere between 16 and 24 inches of rain this month. More to come.

But, prior to December, we could almost be said to be adventurous folk!

First – A life-lesson: Eyelash glue will NOT hold bread on one’s face.

We have new passports. (Let me pause while that sinks in. It’s OK to be envious. Who could resist?) This is just the icing on the cake from our attaining Australian citizenship in July. (The cake would be the collectable plastic flags and the shrublings they gave us…which we haven’t killed yet.)

We made our first trip to New Zealand – flying into Wellington to visit friends and then borrowing their car for a counterclockwise expedition around the South Island. We had a great time. Our highlights: “climbing” Franz Josef Glacier and swimming with the seals in Kaikoura. We can teach you your first word in Kiwi…. “beer” - go ahead, say it. That’s an animal that lives in the woods and eats honey (though, not in NZ which is very deficient in mammals.)

We got our Chipotle fix by visiting the US – twice! Kevin scored an extra Chipotle run because this was the 20th Anniversary of his film “Night of the Living Bread” and, as such, the film and the man were featured guests at the Halloween Horror Movie Marathon in Columbus.

AND…. We have a “flash new car”… that is, if flash means 20 years old. It wasn’t exactly a planned purchase but something about totaling one’s current car makes buying a new car look like a good idea. It is a Toyota Corolla. Michael Jackson has been established in its trunk – though I’m thinking his value as a Good Luck Protective Demigod is over-rated. Still, he makes us smile.

Zelda worked hard to secure her title of Bad Ass Dog of the Year. In August she engaged in a bout of uncontrollable vomiting which eventually I determined was the result of a foreign body being lodged in her intestine. I just cannot believe it took her 13 years to accomplish this feat – she’s tried so hard. We removed a bluish green rubbery object which neither Kevin nor I had ever seen before. We don’t know where she found it, but she didn’t show it to us. (This is what can happen when you leave the internet on while you are at work!) Anyway, while she was sick she was an ideal patient – quiet and cooperative. No one could imagine why I kept insisting that Zelda is a very, very, very bad girl. Then, post surgery she felt better. The howling and screaming began. “I’m alone! Help!! Help!! I need a couch! I’m ALOOOONE!”. She chewed her IV line into THREE pieces and peed over everything. Then, BOOM! The clinic lights went out. I joked that even Zelda couldn’t do this – but she had. She chewed through the electrical cord on her heating pad and shorted out the clinic and wrecked both computers in the reception area. Now, our mail box is filled with come-ons addressed to Zelda from various terrorist organizations.

Our biggest news: Kevin and I are very pleased to inform you that we have decided to and have all but succeeded in adding a real human being to our family. If everything continues to go well – as well as it has gone up to this point – we’ll welcome a little boy to our – and your family in March/April. We appreciate the idea of the estimated arrival date of April 1, April Fool’s Day. We’ve been calling him Zuperfliegen Baadasssss – a Faux-German translation of “Super Fly” and Baadasssss from the 1971 movie “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”– all in salute to 1970’s Blaxploitation films. (Can you guess whose idea this was??) Zupe for short….And, now for what you expect.

Movies: We did better seeing films this year thanks to several “series” playing in the city: The closing of The Regent Cinema in downtown Brisbane. They featured one classic movie from each decade they operated (from the 20s to the present). And, the Gallery of Modern Art featured a series of New Zealand films during their New Zealand Unnerved exhibition. Flying internationally added to our consumption – though not necessarily of anything we’d recommend to others. Anyway, hands down “Toy Story 3” gets our nod for best film. We laughed. We cried. Second place probably belongs to “The Social Network”. Our favorite from NZ: “Once Were Warriors” – though lets say it isn’t “upbeat”. The sequel, “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”, was also worth seeing. But, you really should do them in sequence. Lighter fare: “Scott Pilgrim Versus the World”, “Black Sheep” (NZ film with man-eating sheep!), “RED” (which I liked more than Kevin.)

Books: This year I read a lot of Zombie books. Really. They were a fun lot – though none as supremely pleasing as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Zombies really spice up Jane Austen. If you can’t bring yourself to have that much fun, then I’ll recommend Let Me Sing You Gentle Songs by Linda Olsson. It was a beautiful novel of friendship between two lonely women – and nothing undead anywhere. (The US title is not as lovely: Astrid and Veronica.) One book I feel I need to caution you about: Ah-choo! by Jennifer Ackerman. My mother sent me this nonfiction account of research surrounding the common cold. It was interesting – but I was then sick with two consecutive colds for the next six weeks. I blame the book. I’m sure it is laced with various viruses. Now, I want to get it off my shelf – and, if truth be told, I want to give it to someone else to see if they get sick, too. Would that make me, how do you say it, evil?????

Music: We really outdid ourselves this year with missing good music. First, we missed Laurie Anderson’s “Music for Dogs” concert at the Sydney Opera House. Maybe if I’d learned about it further in advance it would have worked out for us – though I suspect even then we’d have left Zelda at home. Then, only recently, we missed the Double Feature of Blondie and The Pretenders. This time we had tickets! Front row tickets purchased 7 months in advance!! But, it was an outdoor concert scheduled for early December and … it was rained out. Instead, we’ve been basking in another NZ discovery: Kasey Kasem’s American Top 40 from the 70s and 80s is still being broadcast. We’ve been enjoying this – so much I get up at 6 AM on Sundays.

Last but most, Television: Since we now only watch pre-recorded television we have the pleasure of watching only what we want to see (no channel surfing – which means we’ll never stumble upon “Dude, Where’s My Car?” – a loss we’ll never have the opportunity to recognize) and we avoid all the commercial breaks. So, we’ve seen some things that pleased us immensely. Comedy: “The Big Bang Theory”, “Modern Family”, and the show we’re most consistently impressed with: “Community”. Drama: Wow! Wow! Wow! We watched all three seasons of “Breaking Bad”. I don’t know how we’ve managed to sleep since waiting to resolve the cliffhanger which won’t be aired until JULY!!! We slogged through the first 2 seasons of “Mad Men” wondering how it was that it would beat “Breaking Bad” for Emmy Awards: Glacially paced with enigmatic dialog, all style and no substance. Then, we watched season 3 and, then, season 4 and we’re converts (though we still prefer cooking methamphetamine to writing advertising.) Also rans: “Men of a Certain Age”, “Fringe”, and “Big Love” – though the latter did some serious shark jumping.

Just can’t get over that baby thing? You’re right. We’re likely over our heads. We’ve got NO IDEA how to avoid the dingo threat. I’m just hoping it’s kind of like a Land Shark attack.

Excuse me. Someone is at the door.


Roma Street - January 2011

Boxing Day Tradition Continues

Last year we announced our first annual "Boxing Day Rebellion" which consisted of spending the day at the Gallery of Modern Art. (The title made more sense last year as the show was composed of Asian artists. The tradition actually is older than that - we spent Boxing Day seeing the Andy Warhol exhibit 3 years ago - but we didn't have the great TITLE then. Now we (Boxing Day) rebel with modern art.)
From Art in the 21st Century

The new exhibition features art from the first decade of the 21st century - that would mean the last 10 years. Some of the pieces we'd seen before in the collection. Others, of course, were new to us. Our favorite were the interactive pieces - an infinity room with black-light glowing balls (we'd seen this - and decided to not wait in line again),
From Art in the 21st Century
twin slides twisting down from the second floor (only one of us as able to slide - guess who),
From Art in the 21st Century
a giant table filled with (white) Lego's for building the city of the 21st century,
From Singles 2011
a fabulous swimming pool illusion where you can stand (dryly) at the bottom of the pool or look down at others doing so, and
From Art in the 21st Century
what would without a doubt be Zelda's favorite room - a room filled to about 4 feet with big purple balloons.
From Singles 2011
(Damn. How can I get her in there? The excitement would probably kill her... so maybe it isn't what I want to do for her birthday though Kevin and I have talked about which of our rooms we could do this in. Should we find the wind power, you'll be invited. But, hey, maybe YOU could blow up a few, too....)

Because I didn't see you there, and the museum is closed due to flooding, here are a few of the others we enjoyed.

From Art in the 21st Century
Giant sculpture made from what we lovingly call "poop bags". (These are empty; though on the opposite wall is a "painting" which includes elephant dung.)

From Art in the 21st Century
Good to see the massive swarm of silver balls, again. Though, I like them better when they are floating in a pool.

From Art in the 21st Century
I love drive-in movies - There was an old drive-in screen decaying outside of Urbana when I lived there. I took a few photos, but never ended up with anything that really, really, really pleased me. If I dig around, I don't think I'll find it here. I'm pretty sure I shot it on slide film. (Remember that? sigh.)

From Art in the 21st Century
Now, this room is REALLY cool. The coat hangers are hanging from a grid of wires near the ceiling. When the wires are stimulated by movement of the birds (which, by the way, despite the signage ARE NOT all zebra finches) they transfer that energy into a tone. We were not overly impressed by the "music" produced... but neither was that docent sitting in the corner impressed by me taking a photograph in a room in which NO PHOTOGRAPHY was allowed. Oops. Obviously, I didn't know, since the one and only photo I took was aimed directly at her!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This is serious. This is Christmas in Brisbane.

From Singles 2011

I know. Christmas was so last year. But, maybe you've noticed that I've been on a break for the past many months and now I'm trying to make a comeback, however brief or lame it may come (back) to be. Christmas seems like as good a place to start as any - since here in Aus there is no holiday between the EKKA (state fair) and Dec 25. We do score Dec 26, though -that counts for something. This year it counted for a 4 day holiday weekend. I needed that. I had been sick and exhausted for about all of November and December. (I blame my mother - but that's another story. Maybe someday around next July I'll take time to tell it.)

I don't do Christmas well in Australia. It just isn't right for Christmas to be a summer holiday. There's nothing merry feeling about sweat. Of course, this year there was not so much sweat as rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. I'm sure you've heard. It's been wet.

We thought we'd try to jump into the holiday spirit by once again taking the "Holiday Lights Tour". This time, however, we thought we'd check out the lights on our side of town. I'm not sure if the rain dampened everyone's holiday effort or only those on the north side of Brisbane - but we were really disappointed. Our tour primarily featured decorated Churches... at least four...about the same number of houses that we saw. And, with few (and NOTABLE) exceptions it seems that the churches all buy their light up decorations (nativities (of course), "merry" kangaroos, emus, koalas, etc.) from the same catalogs. But, really, the exceptions should be shared.

From Christmas 2010
The Baptist church's exhibit was, as far as I could remember, exactly the same as it has been. They still win the award for "most light-up sheep".

From Christmas 2010
The Catholic church altered their giant light tree to make it a giant angel. Well done.

From Christmas 2010
Church #4 gets my award for oddest Christmas animal light. There, in front of the holiday dingo.... a snake. I guess we're letting bygones be bygones with reference to that apple snafu.

But, the oddest display of the season goes to church group number 3 - and I'm so sorry I can't tell you who they are. Maybe Kevin will remember... Just before the "Rain forest Walk" - you know, the walk through the bamboo trail to spot all the illuminated Buddhas - is this gazebo. Please excuse the poor focus - I have better photographs of the component parts... you just need to get some idea of the "whole".
From Christmas 2010

Obviously, on the fence you've got a pair of matching dancing skeletons
From Christmas 2010
with giant spiders on the roof and corners.
From Christmas 2010
What you can't see well - the tombstones inscribed with "Trick or Treat" and the "host" of the gazebo - standing in the center...
From Christmas 2010
Dracula. I am not kidding you. This is serious. This is Christmas in Brisbane.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk"

From Singles 2011

My former mate had been dead for all of three days when my mother set me up with the daughter of one of her neighbors. We met at dawn, in a big oak overlooking a pasture. Below us on the grass, a white calf took her mother's teat in her mouth, and my date shouted, "Faggot!"

"I think the word you're looking for is 'lesbian,'" I said. "though even that wouldn't make sense. What they're doing isn't sexual -- it's called nursing. It's the way mammals feed their young."

She said, "Yeah, faggot mammals."

-from "The Greiving Owl"


From Singles 2011

"What has hands like theirs?"

"We do."

"Besides us."


"There must be something."

"Yeah. There's them."

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

From Singles 2011

“But what if,” the child asked, “what if you ain’t sure that he mean you harm?”

“It’s you that mean to harm him,” Coy said, pointing his thumb and forefinger like a pistol. “Life ain’t fair. Life ain’t right. Life ain’t no good or bad. What it is is you, boy. You makin’ up your mind and takin’ your own path. …”

No One Sees You Like Your Dog Does

Zelda begs to differ.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Around our driveway

From Singles 2010

I know what you’re looking for. What is happening out in front of #51??

Last night – death and destruction. We returned home from our evening walk to find our blue tongue friend* headless and mostly innardless, smushed flat on our drive. I, of course, first thing looked to see if my tires most closely aligned with this hit-and-run scene. Ah, no. Then, I remembered that I took the company truck to the clinic today and Kevin pulled our car in behind us. Could have been me.

We gave him a moment of silence then, being garbage night, Kevin hefted his remains into the nearby bin. It was not a difficult scrape – AND when we walked down the driveway on our walk we hadn’t noticed the grisly scene – makes me wonder whether he’d been killed elsewhere and the skin dropped on our drive by those murderous crows.

This morning –confusion. Kevin, leaving before me, standing in the doorway says, “They’re working on the road.”

Ann: “What?”

Kevin: “They’re working on the road. There’s a man with uh-uh-uhs.”

Ann: “There’s a man with elephants????” pushing past to look out.

Kevin: “There’s a man with a YELLOW FENCE.”

Ann: “Elephants are way cooler.”

*By the way, this is what he looked like when he had a head and a third dimension.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

"Dexter is Delicious"

From Singles 2011

Typical medical arrogance and indifference; doctors think they're so smart, and all because they passed organic chemistry.