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Saturday, June 30, 2007

'Me' day

Update: You know the annoying person in every class? The person who has to pipe up with such starters as, "In my experience...." or "This is what I do...". The kind who clunks you over the head with enthusiasm, yes, but also with a kind of unnerving zap that you just want them to shut the hell up?

Well I think that was me today :(

It was okay. A couple of new tricks and tips, but nothing mind-shatteringly insightful. Oh well. It was nice to be in the city for a change. I do miss it.

I'm spending six hours today in the city for a writing course. I am very excited. Time to polish up on some skills, taste the happiness of collaboration and motivation, and not have kids around my ankles 99% of the time.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Warm and toasty

This past weekend we put our electric blanket on our bed. I should state for the record that, honestly, we really don't need it. We don't. We've done quite well these past few years without it.

This year is different. We have decided we MUST have total comfort 100% of the time we are in bed, and this includes the icy first seconds you climb in and repeatedly rub the sheets with your feet to warm up. Uh-huh. Not us. We're too good for latent exercise.

Naturally, like the Borg, this will turn a laser beam of displeasure from the global warming watchdogs in our direction. But I first want to plead my case for the luxury. I cut corners in other ways. I only wash our clothes in cold water. I do hang our clothes from the curtain rods instead of running the dryer full-tilt (thus making our house look not unlike the dry-cleaners).I bathe the kids in only an inch of water, which I then recycle (well, I haven't for these past few months, but I will again come spring!).

We haven't used the blanket yet either, I should add. Last night to experiment with alternate methods of heating, I wore socks to bed. Now, in my entire life, I've avoided wearing socks to bed, because I've felt that if I've sunk that low, then all I need to complete the ensemble is a nightcap, bifocal glasses and a glass of water next to my bed for the false-teeth. No, one who sleeps nude (which I do) could not risk the embarrassment of donning socks. It would be akin to someone in a nudist camp wearing a swimming cap in a pool. I mean, what's the point?

But do you know what? The socks worked. They were, in fact, amazing.

So now I'm left with a dilemma: put on the blanket for the undeniable coziness it brings, or keep my spartan sensibilities intact by pulling up my cotton high-tops?

What would you do?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Out of commission

Wild weather in Victoria, eh? We're not flooding* but the rain has been wonderful. What I liked especially was this low pressure system came in from the east. The east! Unheard of! I keep looking up in the sky, waiting for Mary Poppins.

The kids, bugger it, are sick. How can I tell apart from the usual symptoms? Well Keira has decided to stay in her pyjamas all day, and as it's almost 8am and she's not in her usual dress and stocking attire I'm inclined to believe her. Riley is not clawing at the backdoor like a dog to get outside. No, he's just seeing how much square meterage of the house he can cover with his own snot. So far, he's not doing a bad job.

*not that you asked!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh, Dear

Keira just ran by me, digital camera in hand.

"Where are you going?"

"To take a photo of dad on the toilet!"

Keira would not be impressed if I was a celebrity

The other week, for a laugh, I put on the "Temptation" episode on which I appeared, on the video, to see what Keira would think.

At first, she was unsure why the techno-colours of Hi-5, or much more agreeable ABC themes, were not playing. Then, when she saw humble ole' me come up onto the screen, her face went blank.

No smiles. No excitement (luckily, Riley filled in there with coos of recognition). No anticipation of what was to come.

No - instead I got a withering, disgruntled look.

I could read it instantly: "Jesus Christ, now you've invaded my favourite form of media? Can I get no rest from you? Get off my screen! Get off!"

Honey, that's how the rest of Australia feels about Eddie McGuire. And possibly Paris Hilton.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I realise this is cheating...

But I like Jim Carrey's schtick. Here's an example, which I found last night on YouTube.

I needed a laugh. This sufficed.

Not everyone's cup of tea; especially if you hate award shows. But as I love them, that's why I'm posting it here, and you're probably not!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Who's mothering who?

Yesterday, we were at the shops and having our customary muffin and coffee stop-off. Riley proceeded to take a gigantic bite out of a plastic spoon and half of it snapped off in his mouth. In my jumping up to retrieve the pieces, before he swallowed them and ripped his oesophagus, I knocked my coffee into my lap.

So, I sat there with a crotch full of liquid - and yes it looked exactly what you think it did.

"Uh- oh" said Adam to Keira. "Mum's had an accident. Better go take her to the toilets to clean up".

Normally Keira might have shirked off such a command, especially in the middle of eating, but this time she solemnly nodded her head and held out her hand for me. For her, no matter how often I told her, it wasn't "That Kind" of accident, she obviously thought I'd had one of 'her' kind of urine-based ones.

"Come on mum" she said, leading me away.

Then, as we walked off and I'm praying people aren't looking at me, she tenderly stroked my hand and said, "It's okay mum, we'll fix you up."

My heart melted into a pool about the size that was spreading across my jeans.

Have I mentioned lately I've got a pretty good girl? Well I have.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

1001 Book Challenge - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Rather an appropriate choice, as last night I watched Capote (thoughts? I was a little disappointed, to tell the truth).

Anyway, considered one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it is perhaps indicative of the stature of To Kill a Mockingbird that most people who haven’t read it are at least familiar with the core story. Set in America’s South in the 1930’s, a judicious white lawyer, Atticus Finch, is appointed to defend a black man charged with rape. What follows is the community’s reaction to the trial, highlighting the strong, racist stereotypes that the world fought, and is still fighting, to overcome.

Told brilliantly through the eyes of precocious seven-year-old ‘Scout’ Finch, a girl not afraid of a fist fight, we can see why Atticus was voted by the American Film Institute (AFI) as the Number 1 “Greatest Hero” of all time. Man, Father, Citizen––he is them all, and then some.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Re-jigging site

You may have noticed I've played with my sidebar, and several of my Miscellaneous Mum initiatives have vanished.

This is because blogger was not playing nice with me this morning and refused to accept any and all changes to my (correct) code changes.

So, like a vengeful God, I said, "F**k you then, links. You're outta here."

Later, once my blood has returned to non-boiling, I may replace them. Maybe. Or I might decide I like it how it is.

See, this is what happens when I escape from thehouse, on my own, for one measley hour. I waste 75% of it on non-productive fiddling like this when I should be doing real work.


This is how my social life is going:

You want to see a movie at the cinemas, but with babies and the breastfeeding and the plethora of excuses you always come up with, you missed it. Fine, you say, I'll just wait until it comes out on DVD.

So you wait a few months, and by the time you get down to the video store, the movie is no longer a new-release. It's no longer even a next-to-new-release.

No, its in the regular weekly section, nestled amongst hundreds of other titles which have all been fondled, handled, scratched, and covers faded from being exposed to sunlight.

Oh well, never mind! At least I got what I wanted :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The dangers of perpetuating stereotypes

I have lived in Victoria now for almost seven years. Before then, as you may know, I lived in New South Wales. Recently I discovered my sister is contemplating a move down here; a possibility which caused this outburst from my father: "What? You're going to become a Mexican too?"

('Mexican' = living south of the border, I presume)

I mentioned this to a native Victorian friend of mine who asked,

"Do all New South Wales people have a kind of prejudice against us?"

I thought. I formed my sentence carefully.

"Yes, some do."

Yes, I admit, growing up, us NSW-ers saw Victorians as slightly...odd. They worshipped a funny version of football (a version which has since grown in popularity in all states); they were all bizarrely defensive of their miserable weather-systems (four seasons in one day? Oh, whatever....); they drank crap beer (I can't comment - I don't drink beer); etc.etc. But as you can see in my parenthetical commentary, I have begun to take up the cause for my adopted state. I suppose I can't help it.

Perhaps this is why I loved my friend's rejoinder to the conversation:

"Do you Victorian's have an opinion, then, "asked I, "about New South Welshmen?"

"What?!" she scoffed. "Like we could give a shit about them."

well, touche'.

Do you - as a proud representative of any state - have any sort of deep seeded prejudice against another state which you'd like to exorcise here and now, for the good of social harmony?

Look, okay, here's how I'll start. Before I moved to Melbourne, my vision of what I was in for (on a good day) was of this kind of place:

The kind of indoorsy, cafe-centric, Parisian-inspired, conservative, snooty, narrow-minded culture, who wear their footy colours everywhere.

(Which is all a little bit true........)

But now I've been here, I have a bit of perspective about Sydney:

Brash, loud, proud, fun-loving, free, and blinded by the waters of their beautiful harbour; too much so to have fully formulated any kind of wider comprehension of other places. It's always "we're so great" (which is true) but never, "and so are you."

(Which is all a little bit true........)

What do you reckon?

(I know I've left out three states and two territories in this analogy. Please, add your own in the comments, if you wish!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I've got nuthin'

Seriously. I'm boring this week.

Inclement weather is keeping us indoors. Melbourne shootings are making me sad.

Here's a thought - tell me what you're doing right this second.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Um, okay....

When we were at the library yesterday, Keira grabbed this book off the shelf.

"This one; I want this one" she said.

Please, help me. Comments? Ideas? Reassure me my daughter isn't going to turn into some sort of emo-goth.......

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Favourite Posts

I'm going to do a sidebar re-jig this week sometime and am thinking of putting in a 'favourite posts' drop down bar. I'm not sure which ones (if any) to include

Maybe you can offer some suggestions? Any posts of mine you particularly like?

Where mother and daughter wrestle with the English language.....again

Keira is playing with a new bottle of Nurofen I bought that morning for Riley (seriously - 2 year old molars at 15 months? Yes, it happens).

Keira: What's this for?
Me: It's Riley's pain medicine. He takes it before bed.
Keira: Before bed?Me: Yes, before bed.
Keira: (confused) Be...fore......bed?
Me: (frustrated) Yes, before bed!

Silence. We both simmer over our miscommunication. Until I realise what it is she's been talking about.

Me: Yes, Keira, 'B' is for bed. 'B' for bed. Ha! What are the chances of that?

Ya, gettit?!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Empowering people other than myself. I hope.

Yesterday: Time is a fickle boomerang. You stand and watch that eternal arc sometimes curl back in your favour. You write something that seems all wrong, you wait, and the answer, somehow, then presents itself. Other times, like any chance I've ever thrown a boomerang, it just ditches into the earth, without loft or grace. The following post is without grace. This is not a beginning; more a disclaimer. I've held on to this post for a few days, hoping that time would bring back a resolution, or a nice ending. But it hasn't.

Take it if you will.

Five Days Ago: The other week I was talking on the phone, to a relative, about my blog. This relative and I are both Generation X-ers, however born at opposite ends of the demographic. Its quite amazing that even within our supposed similarities (of which there are many) the one subject we diametrically differ on is the issue of online comfort and safety.

"I finally visited your blog" she said.

"Oh? What did you think?"

"I didn't expect...........you to be so....open."

I quizzed her as to her meaning. Was she surprised that I used our real names, not pseudonyms? (Yes, but that wasn't what she meant).

It turns out she hadn't expected me to be so open about my 'issues' (which I highlight in my About Me page and won't go into here). I really am just a cuddly teddy bear, I swear.

Now it was my turn to get uncomfortable. "I...ah...well...I guess I am. But that's okay. You don't have to read it if you don't want to. I don't go on about that 'stuff' all that often."

Then she backpedaled. "No, no. Don't mind me. I still don't get this computer culture. I still mistrust paying my bills online. Remember-- I was raised in the times of the "put up and shut up" and "happy face" mentality. You didn't talk about problems. You pretended you didn't have any."

I fully realise in the greater scheme of things that my life, as it stands, is pretty blessed. My family and I have our health; we have a home. We live in a 'lucky country'. In fact, when I do happen to log in here and have a metaphoric couch-session-as-therapy-grouch-bitch about something that's going on, I feel pretty lousy about it.

Here's a snapshot of my brain on certain days:

Why do I feel guilty about feeling guilty all the time? It's my space, I can do what I want with it.

But talking that crap affects your traffic.


You get less click-throughs from the feed readers. And on those days, your traffic is less anyway. It's as if your funk is contagious and people are avoiding you.

You're making that up.

No, I don't think so.

Well, even if it's true, who cares?

I care. Because although I pretend to be cool, I am actually a pretty sensitive person. If I don't believe that a post, or a quip, or a pithy remark hasn't pierced the soul of every person who's read for the day, then I haven't done my job. Whatever my 'job' here is.

Now I ask you - thus far, am I speaking with the voice of an empowered woman? Because that - shock of shocks - is precisely what I'm supposed to be talking about.

No, instead I've been gibbering with a faint hysteria about audience participation in, and reception of, my blog, when in fact what I should actually be more concerned about is self-censorship (guilty) and non-narcissistic personal reflection (seriously, how can other people be so powerful when they talk about themselves, but whenever I try to be, I sound as hollow as a cow-bell).

I am really asking you, does blogging empower you? because in all honesty, I'm not sure I qualify. How can someone like me, who always writes with the figure of doubt resting heavily on her shoulder, lose all self inhibition in possibly the most visible of all medias? How is my writing supposed to improve? I'm afraid of turning into come sort of calcified barnacle. Worse, some sort of cyber-squatter, who's parked on the doorstop of the temple of 'WOMEN-BLOGGING' and am about to be 'shooshed!' along at the mercies of a stiff straw broom.

No, enough. Flagellation time is over. Calm blue ocean......calm blue ocean.......think happy thoughts. Concentrate on the secrets of "The Secret" and all that malarkey.

Tell you what, I'll pull out a quote. That usually works.


"There's almost a fear that if you understood too deeply the way you arrived at choices, you could become self-conscious. In any case, many ideas which are full of personal meaning seem rather banal when you put words to them. " Peter Weir

Thanks Peter. So in other words you're saying don't be too deep? I salute you sir! (Well, today anyway.....)

Four Days Ago: After I wrote those words yesterday, I managed to have a nap, to realign my inner scales, because I have a preschooler who's lately decided to start screaming anytime I leave the room and it's shredding my brain apart. (As much as tough muscle can, in any way, be 'shredded'. Bad verb). I also picked up a book, a book about writing which said that for some people, writing is a means to an end. For other people, the writing process itself is paramount. He said it didn't matter which camp you fell into - at any given time - it just mattered that you kept on pushing, thinking, stretching, questioning.

So, to you, readers. Write. Be empowered.

Seek to be louder, stronger, bolder than this jumble of words has accomplished.

Be a writer. Be a blogger. Be women.

I must go now. The children have returned.

Today: ...................
[It's too early to think. Need coffee.]

Cross posted At BlogRhet

Sunday, June 17, 2007

1001 Book Challenge - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The story of one of the most astonishing heroines––and her greatest love affair––of all time.

The reader is first introduced to Jane when she is aged ten. An orphan, she is packed off to a charity school by her cruel aunt. In the atrocious conditions of the place we see her character emerge: intelligent but plain, respectful yet courageous. All these faculties are tested when she accepts a governess position at Thornfield Hall, where she first encounters her employer––the brooding, tragic, Edward Rochester.

To divulge more of the plot would rob it of its twists and surprises. As Jane and Edward fall in love, largely through their playful––yet sensually charged––repartee, the reader is drawn into their world. We discover the Hall’s one secret, which destroys their happiness and when it does Jane must forge an independent life of her own, its end unknowable.

The conclusion is a triumph of love over adversity. Until then, Bronte’s astonishing vocabularly and craft dazzle the reader. Jane Eyre, in this reviewer’s opinion, is one of the most perfectly realised novels ever created.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cranked right off with Thomas the Tank Engine right now

So most of Australia woke up this morning with hysteric warnings regarding ALL wooden Thomas the Tank Engine products, sold from Jan 2005 to now. They are to be recalled because they contain lead paint. I thought lead paint was outlawed in general. Suddenly I feel like I'm back in the Victorian Era and I should be coughing bloody phlegm into my lacy handkerchief, dying of consumption, or something.

Unlike other product recalls, usually relating to cheap Chinese knockoffs we don't buy, this applies to us directly.

As you can see.

You can't see it in this photo, but there are teeth marks on these items. So what does that mean? That my children have potentially ingested lead? That visitor's children have potentially done the same?

It's a concern.

Anyone else been affected?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The meme that is a meme

Naeva tagged me for the '8 things about me meme'. Although I did a similar one only a few weeks ago, I dug into my none-too interesting psyche and came up with the following:

1. I collect true-crime books about Jack the Ripper. A half-dozen at last count. (This won't come as any surprise to anyone who read yesterday's post).

2. I collect expensive coffee table books about Old Hollywood. This won't be a surprise to anyone who's seen this. Or read yesterday's post, again.

3. I do not like peanuts, but enjoy peanut butter.

4. I have a good long-term memory.

5. I wish I had more of an art collection.

6. I wish I had more technology savvy; I wish I knew more HTML. I wish I knew more about how to make the Internet work 'for' me. I really find it most frustrating.

7. I really, really, want to know what Bill Murray whispers to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost in Translation. But if I did, that would rather spoil the movie, wouldn't it?

8. I am not looking forward to my 30th birthday, which is thankfully still a while off.....

I'm not going to tag anyone. Queue sigh of relief.....now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Teaching subliminal gambling

Looking at one of Keira's preschool artworks today, I turned it over to see it was a used form guide to one of the latest Victorian racehorse gatherings.

Good Lord.

The meme that is not a meme

Jean-Luc last week asked this question on his blog: "Name a group of people you would choose as guests in a dinner party and why. Choose as many as you wish."

Now, unlike other memes which I do and then forget within moments, this question actually stayed with me for days. Perhaps because this is such an 'old-school' question and I've pondered it many times over the course of my life.

This is how my answer would read this week. Next week it could be completely different.

1. Shakespeare - to see if he was as brilliant as his words are.

2. Winston Churchill - to revel in his oratory (although he may dominate the conversation, rather). I'd be interested to hear him talk about his 'black dog' depression.

3. Jack the Ripper (wheeled in bound and muzzled, like Hannibal Lecter) - just to see who the hell he was. Then he can be wheeled out again.

4. Bono - Because he's one of the most dynamic people around right now.

5. Helen Garner - We can huddle together and gossip and talk about writing while the boys carry on.

6. Lord Byron - To see what the fuss and swooning was all about 'in the day'.

7. Casanova - Ditto.

8. Bill Clinton - To enjoy his charisma (come on, you know he's pretty sexy.) He's always enormously interesting to listen to.

9. William Shatner - To see if he's as pompous in real life as he's rumoured to be. Plus I love him. Plus, I want him to talk 'Esperanto' to me!!

10. Angelina Jolie - She's gorgeous.

11. Cate Blanchett - Ditto

12. Errol Flynn - Because I've always had a bit of a 'thing' for him.

13. Ernest Hemingway - To hear him talk about his adventures AND his writing. A two-for-one bonus!

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The one where Adam shows his age and obvious childhood preoccupations

We're on a Sunday drive around the suburb; scouting out our next dream house (a house we're still a few years off having). The houses in the particular area where we're at today are...well...pretty stunning.

Adam: Next house, hey, what do you think instead we buy a block of land and build ourselves?

Karen: Like fudge, we are.

Adam: No, really, we could make it cool. We could incorporate our own secret passageways....

Karen: Ooooooooooooooh!!

Adam: .....just like in Webster.

Karen: Huh?

Adam: You know, he had his own secret passageway that came out from behind the grandfather clock which led up to his own bedroom.

Karen: (Silence)

Adam: What?

Karen: I can't believe you remembered that.

Keira's photographic talent

Keira is getting....well....competant at taking a photo. At least she gets her object on the viewfinder now!!

Here is Riley and me yesterday, thanks to her.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gotta keep those balls up in the air - or else

Do you ever get the feeling that no matter how 'normal' your life is travelling, or how mundane in it's insanity, how many times you sing-sing to yourself "just keep swimming, just keep swimming...", that at any moment the shoe is about to drop and you're very very frightened when it does..........?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Breaking news

Keira, today, to Adam: "Mum had a baby put in her belly yesterday."

Oh, really?

Well you heard it here first folks.

Quote, then discuss

"...The move comes as figures show the rate of year 12 students graduating with
a second language has dropped from 40 per cent in the 1960s to 13 per cent
today — with Australian students spending less time learning a language than all
other countries in the OECD*.

This saddens me. But I guess, come your senior years, you have the liberty to choose what subjects you want to study, and so if you don't want to learn German, or French, or Cantonese, then that's your choice. Languages (from memory) aren't marked up as much as, say, Chemistry, so if you're banking on a high TER (or whatever they call it now) then you'd be inclined to pass in favour of harder sciences. (This saddens me too - but that's another subject).

It would depend on the school too. Fully qualified languages teachers are becoming rarer these days. I only got the chance to study it because the teacher was (ahem)....a more mature lady...and had been doing so for years.

Kids are missing out. There's something wholly cerebral about learning another language: it's about culture, rhyme, rhythm, manners, structure. There's something humbling about a child/ teenager having to stumble across the words for the first time "I need to go to the bathroom" or the equally embarrassing "How do I get to the public rest rooms?" I had difficulty (as most do) in elementary French, but there's something so damn sexy about the pronunciation and knowing the difference between 'Tu' and - eh- I forget the other one. 'Vu'?

The dividends start paying out once you're out on the party scene (more so for blokes though, I believe) when you can impress your peers by reciting a full stanza of Goethe's "Der Erlenkoenig". Whether or not after a few drinks your diction is 100% correct is another matter. Still, the benefits fully outnumber the deficits.

What do you think? Did you learn a language? Or were you deprived of the challenge? Did it bother you? Does the statistic bother you?

*Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Don't ask me what this is, I have no idea.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

1001 Book Challenge - The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A handsome young man, about to inherit wealth and is a darling of society, has his portrait painted. The likeness to its subject is uncanny, and in a careless moment, Gray exchanges his soul so that he may always look like his painting. He gets his wish; and as the portrait turns ugly, reflecting the evil and vain changes in his character, it will lead to desperate acts to hide this terrible secret.

Wilde is perhaps most well-known for his wit and scathingly honest observations on society, and these are present in Dorian Gray (“Philanthropic people lose all sense of humanity. It is their distinguishing characteristic”), but with an additional undercurrent of reflection and seriousness. The hedonists, led by the wickedly charming Lord Henry Wotton, are tempered by the presence of good-hearted, caring characters. Their interplay makes Dorian Gray a much more ‘moral’ book than what might first appear, making it a triumph of style and accomplishment.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

"I'm tap, tap, tap, tap tapping along!"

That is a Sesame Street song, yes? In any case, it couldn't be more apt.

Today I brought home my brand new baby.

I now have me very own laptop! I can write in bed now and have absolutely no excuse for not being productive (dammit!)

Oh, that tick, tap, metallic slap of the keys is simply divine. It's technological music to my ears!

I am very excited. I have even given her (yes, her) a name. This is Doris. Heellooooooo!

So, for future reference, if ever I'm slagging off a Doris for being incompetent or faulty, I am not talking about an in-law, no, just my shiny new toy.

Nighty-night all!

My precious new purchases

I picked up some books the other day I'd had on layby for a while. They were:

I've already begun "Reading like a Writer", and it's been very difficult - not to read, but to handle. I'm so used to buying second-hand books that a new one to me is as fragile as a newborn baby. I'm even using a bookmark: and those of you who know me well will realise just how much pain this causes. I'm a dog-eared girl, and proud of it.

Have you read any of these? What do you think? ("The Memoir Book" is just a new release, so there mightn't be many takers there). I've found a lot of the "Reading like a Writer" references and allusions in the media and teaching workshops lately. There seems to be quite a niche developing which is a cross between creative writing and the standard 'English Literature' - a niche-bandwagon I would be most keen to jump on board......

....So, consider me here by the side of the road. It's a 19th century day in Canada, probably Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. I'm dressed up to go to a local picnic, with ribbons in my hair, and plaits which I'm twitching nervously because I have a pound cake in my cane basket which will flatten if I'm not being picked up soon enough.

(Yes, I'm channelling Anne of Green Gables here).

My point? Hmm.......not sure. Have a nice weekend everybody.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Random Thoughts....

It's been a funny ole' week.

Since last Saturday, when I put the question of the blogging book to the populace (and got a subdued reaction - although I appreciate the opinions that were expressed), my mind has been full of thoughts of grandeur.

I was going to begin my own little publishing company. I even had the name picked out. I even did a business register search to see if that name, and the website moniker, hadn't already been picked out (it hadn't). Naturally, this led me on to wondering about copyrighting and contracts and money and blah blah...

I then became anxious because I KNEW, KNEW! this road would take me away from writing, and so the idea lost a lot of it's shine.

And then, today, the completed family history book - the one I've spent the past three or so months on, arrived back, and after the first few excited seconds, after I stopped staring at it with kiddie joy, I looked at it with the same keen eye I peruse every book. It's not perfect. The margins, all of them, were way out. I perhaps should've used another font because - shit- Times New Roman has got to be THE most boring one out there. I found a grammatical error I passed over all FIVE proofreads I gave the manuscript. My perfectionism (or lack thereof) didn't hold water with a non-commercial piece. God knows what a pro job would turn out.

(The words it contained though were top-notch. Good job family!)

This is my black mood of pessimism here that I've been struggling with because on turning my back on this non-career potential, I return again to the writing and, God knows, every little piece I turn out lately feels like crap.

Like this one. I do apologise.

Carry on. As you were.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thirteen things about "The Queen"

  1. I finally watched "The Queen" on the weekend. Here are my thoughts:

While the Queen and Tony Blair were fleshed out, the minor characters were really just caricatures (a quibble I remember reading in one of the movie reviews at the time). Philip and Cherie Blair, in particular.

  • Helen Mirren, on the other end of the scale, was truly magnificent. She deserved that Oscar.

  • I wonder if the Queen is like that in real life? Where does the fiction end and fact begin?

  • Well, she couldn't have been too offensive, seeing Helen Mirren was recently invited to lunch with the real Queen.

  • The movie also dealt rather wryly with Tony Blair as PM - heralded as the great 'modernizer' and 'hero of the nation' - but in subsequent years he has been blighted by the war in Iraq and I wonder how much of his talents were wasted (or wanting to being with, so may say his critics). I daresay he'd see the movie as bittersweet.

  • What say the UK readers of my above point? What say you, for example, Jean-Luc. I'd love to know!

  • "The Queen" was short! Only a 100 min.

  • It didn't really 'feel' like a movie. More like a documentary. There wasn't much of a narrative arc. Perhaps this is because it was based on events that played out, which I remember particularly well. I already knew how they unfolded.

  • Do you remember hearing about Diana's death?

  • I do. I heard it over the 11am radio news. Adam's housemate and I promptly turned on the television (Adam's reaction? 'Meh' he grunted, turning back to his computer game.)

  • I sat in front of the television and howled at her funeral a week later.

  • I think this was for no other reason, really, because I really felt for those poor boys of hers.

  • What about you?
  • Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    Quip of the week

    Keira is going through Adam's postcard collection from his business trip to the USA a few years ago. She holds up a card with a picture of this place:

    Keira: What's this place?
    Me: The White House, darling.
    Keira: The Biggest Loser's house?!
    Me: Ah, well, no.......and yes. In a matter of speaking. Not in the way you mean, but....

    some people would argue............

    Suddenly I was hit by a Yoda-inspired quote:

    "There is another"

    (For non-Australians, The Biggest Loser is filmed in a gigantic white house called...the White House. So, if I need to explain, she was thinking of them; I was referring to someone else...)

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Heartbreaking conversations with a five year old stranger

    "Hi!" says a boy, running up to me in an indoor play centre on the weekend.

    "Hi!" says I.

    "My mum has a baby in her belly."

    "That's fantastic news. You're going to be a big brother."

    "My mum's already had three babies die in her belly," says the boy, unfazed.

    "Oh." God, what can I say? "I'm so sorry."

    "It's okay. The babies are in heaven now."

    The boys trips off, and I am left staggered as to the ability of children to cope with all sorts of circumstances.

    Naturally, after such a confession, I sought out his mother sitting in the crowd. There she was, swollen belly signalling at least six months gone, and I felt such...well, almost love for her. Concern. Throat-constricting sympathy. Funny how people you pass in a room, in a crowd, can be the source of such private tragedy.

    I hope all goes well for her. I really, really do.

    Come away, O human child!
    To the waters and the wild
    With a faery, hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you
    can understand.
    W. B Yeats

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    For my sister

    I am determined to trail Youtube for every little skerrick of William Shatner singing, for everyone's enjoyment (or torture, as the case may be).

    We love the Shat's.

    And only love can see you through some of his...career decisions.

    Wearing my Blogrhet cap today

    In an attempt to jump start my 'little grey cells' again, I joined the bloggy think tank of intellectually supercharged (excepting myself) ladies over here at Blogrhet.

    To quote its founders:

    "We are a team of bloggers who are fascinated with what blogging means to each
    of us...We are prone to navel-gazy "what does it all mean?" posts that reflect
    on our own processes of blogging, writing, and interacting. And we know were not
    alone. Starting this week, BlogRhet will be back in action with regular posts
    from bloggers like you. To get this introspective party started, we're enlisting
    your help with this meme. Your mission: Give these questions a stab in a post,
    and then tag three more writers. If you don't mind, please link back to this
    original entry—we'd LOVE to track the progress of this meme with trackbacks."
    1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days?Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?

    I do not think my writing voice has changed all that much, to be honest. Then again, I've been writing for so long now, in various forms, that perhaps I'd already come to a style that I was comfortable with. Do I amend what I might say as opposed to what I do say, however? Yes, sometimes. I think.

    I believe that blogging falls in a grey area when it comes to categorisation. Its a bit of memoir; it's a bit of reporting; it's a bit of fiction; plus others. So what I say I am achieving here, or trying to achieve, the next person might say is bollocks and not worth the effort.

    The writerly 'voice' here is my own, but is a lot different to 'SERIOUS ARTISTE' which I (in the old days) used to adopt. It's an easier one, granted. But is it 'better'?

    That is a question I've begun to ask myself actually, because my other kinds of writing are suffering.

    2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?

    Ah - comments. The bait which keep many people still blogging. Seriously, I ask you, if there were no such thing as comment availability in blogging, would you keep on writing?

    I would, but I guarantee you, a good percentage of others wouldn't.

    Old friends and old acquaintances were my first commenter's, for which I am grateful. My sister, too, pops up regularly. I was talking about this with a fellow mother blogger (well, mother-to-be, in her case!) the other night at the Melbourne Bloggers Meetup. We partially started our blogs as a means to keep family informed as to what was happening in our lives; and our families (by and large) ignore them. Which is a generational issue, I stress, than a lack of interest or love on their part.

    My take on comments is funny. I don't post comments nearly as much as others do. But then, I only do if I have something unique or of newer value to add to a discussion. If what I was to say didn't classify, then frankly I refer to myself as a spammer commenter....

    ...which I freely admit sometimes I tend to be on Thursday Thirteens. There, chew on that! God, I need to make a decision there....

    3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?

    Oh, I know when. Exactly. Here

    The idea took off so quickly, before I realised the extent of 'memes' or 'competitions' which clogged up the bloggersphere. Back then, maybe, I was slightly naive, so I thought I was doing something unique and luckily for me, the idea took off.

    Would it now? Maybe not. You've got to remember, I offered no monetary or prize incentive to 'join'. Only a link. And a button. That's all.

    What's with the (bribing? is that too hard a word?) going on now? Bloggers are offering all sorts of treats to entice you to participate in their blog community. I'm not criticising here - I'm not! - but I can't do that, really.

    1) No money

    2) Being an 'international' blogger (it really is a case of USA vs the rest of us) it would be hard to organise anything without coming across postage red tape. etcetc.

    Okay, so back to the question. I think I answered it!

    Except to add, that the 2nd of my own challenges, the Hello, Gorgeous Project, was a relative disaster, and I cannot say why. That can wait for another time.

    4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?

    Hmmm...well assuming that the big traffic numbers I got when the project was in full swing (plus other times I've been featured on Problogger) continued to grow exponentially (they didn't), (although I am doing okay in that respect), short answer is no, I haven't changed. I think that's because of the reasons I go into in question one

    Like these answers? Want to see more? Go here!

    I am supposed to tag three people. I can't think of three people who'd like to do it (or at least are too shy to say so!). Please, go ahead. It's open to everyone!

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    1001 Book Challenge - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

    The plot reads like a moral nightmare––Humbert Humbert, an esteemed European gentleman with a penchant for paedophilia, becomes a border at the home of Charlotte Haze and falls in love with her twelve year old daughter, Dolores (or ‘Lolita’). Through machination and plain luck, Humbert finally succeeds in ‘winning’ Lolita and what follows is a damning decline into desperation and murder, as he seeks to withhold his claim on the child.

    Lolita is a much more significant work than its sordid reputation warrants. True, the sexual content is unsettling and recurrent but it has many other themes, like how the power of love––even its grossest types––can dominate over all other emotions. Its rich language is delightful. Nabokov’s descriptions take the reader through materialistic Middle America, with its substandard hotels and suspect characters. Lastly, we are offered one of the most compelling villains in literature. For all his vileness, one can’t help liking Humbert and his macabre and humorous observations. In the end, we feel a slight pang of pity for his fate––and for Lolita’s. In a word: brilliant. I love this book (and apologise for the excessive use of adverbs in this review!)

    Note: discussions continuing in previous post about blog book. I'd rather keep it in one place, until further notice. Please, add to the dialogue!


    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    Working through an idea....opinions welcome

    The 'great idea' I had was this:

    There is a proliferation of awards floating around the bloggersphere. Good ones; warranted ones. But is there a book of these available? Do "Best Blog Posts - 2006" (for example) exist, much like, say, this book? I haven't seen any, but then again, there's not much of a market for it in Australia.

    Is there a market, generally, would you say?

    Would you pay for a book of great blog writing?

    What say you?

    My opinion? I love reading blogs...but I must admit staring at a computer screen is hard on my eyes. I'd really like it in hard copy, in front of me, so I can read as slowly as I like, at whenever time and place I please. Most of you know my first love is books and such to start with, so my bias is hardly surprising.

    Don't mind now about the mechanics of accepting submissions and anything editorial - I'm just after conceptual viability.


    (Please, if you think its a dumb idea, don't be afraid to say so. I must admit, at 10pm at night, I thought it was great. In the cold light of morning, my gremlins of doubt had eaten away my enthusiasm and were coming up with all sorts of - valid - reasons why this might fail. That's okay. I suppose... I'll just keep saying to myself, "That which you can conceive, you can achieve")

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    My May Perfect Post Awardee

    "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Jane Austen

    "It is a truth universally unacknowledged, that a humble blogger of certain talents must be in want of an award" Karen Andrews*

    They say when it comes to blogging success, one of the prerequisites is to "spread linky love". Now *ahem* I am the first to admit, I am not the best at this. It's not that I don't read the blogs. I do. I just don't have the time to devote to then go back and extrapolate the reasons why I love the ones I do. Call me lazy. Call me "tough-love-mum".

    Then I decided, heck, once a month I could do something for my fellow man (or woman). I can nominate someone for a perfect post award. THAT I can do.

    So this month I am.

    Bub and Pie wrote earlier this month about audience.

    It is a timely subject, as I think about my audience all the time (as you may tell above in my opening comments). She just writes so eloquently. She will make you think. Now, you may not want to think as you're reading, but dammit she connects. She talks to the intellect in all of us; the latent intellect which may have checked out of our brains and is resting comfortably on a Tahitian island, Pina Colada in hand, and is refusing to answer its mobile phone.

    She makes the call it cannot refuse, and so it skulks back, tanned, but guilty for hiding on the first place.

    For other perfect post nominees, please go to Lindsay and MommaK so that people can see the other Perfect Post awardees if they'd like.

    *Feel free to quote me. All the cool kids are doing it. My kids are. Well, they are talking back at me when I give them a command. That counts, doesn't it? Please tell me it counts.


    It's Adam's and my 10 year anniversary. Last night I turned to Adam in bed at about 10pm and said, "This time 10 years ago you were buying me my first drink" (a Jack Daniels and diet coke, if anyone's interested!). Last night I also had THE best idea, evah. Stay tuned!