Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 171: On the road again...

Day 171 (26 May) Sunday. Concert day. It is one of the very good things about being in a community orchestra (and good to be back in the band) is that our Monday night rehearsals  are always directed at the performance. We usually do two concerts of the same program, two Sundays in a row. Today it is Mt Mee...but before that...

Looking out my back door,
at 6.12am
It does mean an early start when we go 'on the road'. We are to meet at UQ to board the bus which will take us up the mountain. It is always a good trip and preferable to driving, and no, musicians don't sing 'Ten Green Bottles'. So it is up early, on Sunday, to do the washing...on this day I decide at 6.12am to pay homage to one of my favourite artists, David Hockney. He did a marvellous series of photos in Japan some years ago and he nearly always includes a pic of his feet in his photos...luckily, I'm no David Hockney. I'm actually getting the washing done early so it is out before I leave. There isn't another chance today. 
All set to go, SLO at
Mt Mee

Everybody is on time and we plan to arrive in time to do the usual sound check, 'top and tail' as we call it. We've been heading up to Mt Mee annually for about a decade now. The community supplies a lovely homemade afternoon tea; as an audience they are engaged and appreciative. It is always a marvellous day. I like to use the time on the bus to read for work. Today it is Christopher Hitchens on George Orwell...I like to use Orwell as a backgrounder to my politics classes. I'm interested in what Hitch has to say.

The sound check goes well, our soloists, the lovely Leslie Martin and fabulous Gregory Moore, are marvellous and we're all ready to go just on 2pm. Two and a half hours later it is all over. The Mt Mee community has been a marvellous audience and host again. We'll be back. 

My kit, waiting for the bus
On the bus back home it is dark and a bit hard to read so I've opted to look through the pics I might submit to the Ekka photo competition this year. I've been meaning to do it forever. 

An Ekka pic? On the bus home,
at 6.12pm
Next week, it is our special 40th Anniversary Concert at Schonell Theatre. St Lucia Orchestra started in 1973 and has played continually since then. It is going to be a big weekend for us. We'll play for Chas, because if he were here, he'd be one of the guest soloists. 

Meanwhile, if anything happened today...it passed me by. A Sunday on the mountain can do that to you. 





Day 170: Trekkie induction...

Day 170 (25 May) Saturday. I've 'slept in' sort of. No clarinet rehearsals, no plays, just a quiet Saturday until...

The view, at 6.12am
So it is that at 6.12am I'm doing a bit of a Sunday morning thing and watching the sun come through the trees and the window. At least there is light. I recall the mornings at this time in Tokyo in December and January, nothing to see. Probably not a bad spot on the earth's surface to be after all. 

The long days-short nights teaching schedule this semester has also meant that I haven't been quite as circumspect in dealing with paperwork during the semester so today I decide to sort through some of the papers that seem to have accumulated without my noticing. There is a certain catharsis to be found in the paper shredder...

Dinner, at 6.12pm
All this is leading up to a movie first: Star Trek...yes, I know, so far out of my galaxy, I can hardly believe it. Still, it's for a friend and, you know, we do things for friends... I've convinced myself it might be OK because...um...I've heard a review on the radio saying that   the movie is underpinned by the international relations theory of 'Just War'. 

The rabbits..
Look, it was OK; it is good to have seen it, it let's me contribute to the zeitgeist...

Afterwards we imagine a Faculty 'end-of-year-revue' and allocate roles from the movie to staff at the university. We decide I am probably part-Vulcan, I can be like that. We also decide the earth shall be overrun by the rabbits we saw at a nearby shop, while we ate burgers and chips after the movie. That's what we were imagining at 6.12pm. 




*This post was completed by a Trek-invader; the usual blogger will be back next post. 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Day 169: Marking time (but again, probably not what you think)

Day 169 (24 May) Friday. Have decided today will be a day of marking...marking papers at home, but not before catching up with a friend and colleague to chew over the week with some tea and brioche, for a change (it's usually brownies, in the afternoon). 

There be aphids, at 6.12am
So, I do get up to get some of that marking done first up. It means looking out to see if today might also be a washing day, if I feel so inclined...not really. But the roses are looking interesting, to say the least. Something is eating at them. Aphids, I guess (in that not terribly clever gardener way of mine...I just remember the ad from my childhood). The tea and brioche is a nice distraction and then it is back to work. 

In the Green Room, BCCC, c. 1998
As I take a break from work, I start flicking back through some old photos, looking for 'true' monochrome photos to enter in this year's Ekka photo comp. I've been planning to do it for years but this year is it, I've got some nice ones of Japan from the trip. But there is also a little ambiguity about what might constitute a 'monochrome' pic these days. With photos taken on digital cards now which at a press of a button can be transformed into something that used to take time to do in the darkroom (yes, I'm old school, I used to spend time in darkrooms), I'm not sure whether 'monochrome' is true anymore. I've been trying to find out. 

One thing I have realised is that over time, I have taken a lot of band photos and I came across one of Bromley, in the 'green room' at the Brisbane Convention Centre the night we played for the President of Ireland who was visiting at the time. Dammit, something I forgot to mention last Tuesday...but we did. He made it happen. It was my 'big band' phase, though I do miss playing in the big band, Glenn Miller-style. It was a great night, the photo is a great reminder. 

Traffic & pizza, at 6.12pm
However, there are papers to mark and beer and pizza on the menu tonight. I head out at the usual time to pick-up the usual feed but find myself stuck at lights at 6.12pm. It seems there was a mass exodus from the city centre this evening, and no-one told us...I've not seen traffic like this at this time for ages. I've a big responsibility to ensure the pizzas don't go cold...


Day 168: A day of moderation (just not what you think)

Day 168 (23 May) Thursday. Today is the other 'late finish', last class until 9pm. The theory is that if we teach late, we don't need to get to campus until a proportionately later time, never quite works as there are usually meetings and other things to do. 

A touch of fog, at 6.12am
First thing this morning though was the extent of fog around. Some light fog, a bit heavier than mist over on the northeast ridge from my place, though the pic doesn't quite do it justice. I'm also to call by a friend's place to give her a lift to the SunCoast today so that is a good chance to chat, rather than think about other things. The fog has lifted well and truly by the time I leave. 

Up and...
Students are starting to prepare their final presentations. If the semester has gone quickly for us, then it has gone just as quickly for the students methinks. As I walk across to the campus, via the kanga mob, the big bloke gets up and then decides the better of it. It's a bit how I feel...

After student presentations (always satisfying to see students 'get' Japanese, the presentations, for third year students, are quite sophisticated), I have to get together with the politics tutors to moderate the student essays. This is where we ensure that all the papers have been marked evenly and consistently. It can be a long process and so it is. 
...meh!

That moderation process concludes, and I am asked to do a radio interview...Peter Slipper has just been committed to face trial in December and could I comment. I have just enough time to read up on the latest, do the interview and prepare for the 3pm class; some days it is just 100km/hour. 

New verbs, at 6.12pm
At 4pm, I have an special teleconference to attend to, about an urgent National Council meeting coming up next month. Oh, and there is still some work to do before tonight's three hours of class. The big bloke had the right idea this morning...I'll give it some serious thought next time. 


Day 167: The thinking time

Day 167 (22 May) Wednesday. The middle of the week and day three of four days of teaching. It is week 12 so not many hours of teaching to go for this semester. Then it's back to revising overdue course outlines, finishing up articles for publication, review colleagues' drafts, prepare conference papers (one for September has been accepted).

Breakfast, lunch & dinner,
in the making, at 6.12am
Today is the 'lesser long day' of the three at Sippy Downs. Lecture at 10am and the last one runs until 7pm. I generally take a day's worth of food to campus so at 6.12am I'm eating breakfast and preparing lunch at the same time. Today we also have another address by our Vice Chancellor which most staff are expected to attend. 

Long day, we'll need these,
at 6.12am
Perhaps there was just too much stoicism yesterday and today just seems a little bit harder. It's a long drive up the Coast today, a long drive. Good thing I have no passengers.

On the way up, I've had a rethink about the order of the lecture and I hope to get on campus with time to make the adjustments. That is one advantage of the long drive to work...the thinking time. Friends and acquaintances ask why I do this, and while there are several reasons, I've learnt to value and use the time to think or listen to radio current affairs (it is quite amazing how often I will refer to 'something I heard on the radio on the way up today' in my lectures). There have been times when I've had to make adjustments on the run as a result of something I heard, or thought about. And that's just not an opportunity I'd have if I caught a bus to work...

Tutes, at 6.12pm
The lecture happens, I think it benefited from a re-ordering. I wanted to show a couple of vid clips to students which, while confronting, show another side to the whaling debate which comes about when people feeling forced into a corner and come out fighting in a hyper-nationalistic way. These are clips in Japanese and so don't get a run very much in the Australian media. I don't like some of these responses any more than I like some of the more extreme anti-whaling groups but whaling has become a foreign policy issue imbued with emotion...I'm not sure we'll solve it satisfactorily now. Nonetheless, I'm drafting a manuscript at the moment, and plan to take some time off next year to write it. (It will probably start in blog form.)

Later in the evening, I turn to Australia-Japan relations in the other course...we get back to whaling, quite coincidentally. At 6.12pm, we've moved into the tutorial and students are doing their presentations. 

The end of the teaching day at 7pm but a few things to do before the return Bruce trip...eventually we head off and head home, with some more thinking time.




Day 166: 'There are too many things I want to say...'

The day
Day 166 (21May) Tuesday. It is a work day, later. But this morning at 10am, we gather to farewell our friend, musician Chas Bromley. There is still a sense of unreality about the day but the morning sky has the beautiful tinges of colour in it we've seen over the last few days. 

The dawn, again, at 6.12am
The roses have started to bud too, after the major pruning a few weeks ago, and that has surprised me. I'm not exactly a dab hand in the garden but I do like it when things work. Chas and Jenny housesat for me a couple of years ago and they had a hand in adding a few bits and pieces around the place. At 6.12am today, I'm taking all this in. 

My motif for the day has become a desert rose I photographed back in the January storms. It looks skywards, its petals have raindrops...it seems appropriate. 

Cloudscape for Chas
I've lost count of the number of times I've gone over and over my words for Chas. It is not a eulogy as such, because I knew him a comparatively short time compared with his many friends and colleagues who will be present today. I haven't managed it without tearing up yet. Sadly, this is not the first time I've had to read at a friend's funeral and the first time, just over three years ago, was through tragic circumstances. Deep breaths...as we say. 

I feel an intense honour and privilege and make it through. There must be something in all those years of fronting lectures when behind the scenes life might be in a little turmoil. I think we build a bit of resilience playing on stage too. I remember talking to Chas when colleagues from the Orchestra had passed on and asking how they managed to take the stage and play in such circumstances...we draw on something extra. People were kind and appreciated my words. 'There are too many things I want to say' is the translated title of a book I have in Japanese, it is one of my favourite texts for times like this. (I've placed the text of the reflection over on the psephy blog, by request.) Cancer really is a bugger. 

Whaling, at 6.12pm
We gathered afterwards to celebrate his life but of course, I had to go to work...lectures and classes until 9pm. Naturally, Chas, via his family, had the last laugh...so typical of me to put work first...even at his wake. I really do need to reassess my life, as he once told me. 

I guess in times like this, we take comfort in symbols or signs as we each see fit. I arrived at work to find a calm and slightly open cloudy sky. It gave some comfort. Not, unfortunately, some of the school kids from a nearby school who hassled me as I walked across the campus. Really kids, get over it and show some respect. (Next time, I'll remember I have a camera in my phone.)

Work. Funny how things just go on. We get on with it. And at 6.12pm, I'm back at the lectern, talking about public policy, asylum seekers and whaling. But it will always be just a little bit different. 






Day 165: Looking skywards

Day 165 (20 May) Monday. Week 12, the second last week of semester and it has come around very quickly. It's a day at South Bank and we're discussing public policy--asylum seekers and whaling. Both topics for interesting conversations. 


Dawn, at 6.12am I
But the sky this morning is just simply spectacular and the twittersphere starts its day with marvellous photos of the dawning sky. At 6.12am, I'm contributing to twitter traffic...it is just too nice to ignore. 


Dawn, at 6.12am II
The colour lasts just a few minutes and within about 30 seconds of the photo on the left, I've taken another where the oranges and pinks of the clouds are more intense. 

I could have spent quite some time just watching the changes in the sky, but there are buses to catch, classes to teach. After breakfast, it's checking the notes, and listening to the news for anything that might add to the lectures today. 

There is something wonderful about teaching small classes. It is a bit of a luxury in the modern university but it is a very intense and rewarding way to teach. I really enjoy the opportunity and the fact there is just one more week of this group is a little sad. It is such a privilege to teach politics, and have students 'get it'. 

Before rehearsal, at 6.12pm
Of course, since I resolved last week to return to St Lucia Orchestra, tonight I will go to rehearsal. I realised last week just how much I have missed it because of work, but I'm glad to be back, thanks to Chas. Over a light dinner I catch up on the day's news but thoughts overwhelmingly turn to tomorrow, and the complex feelings that come with reading to many at your best mate's funeral. I'll be looking skywards...quite a bit. 



Sunday, 19 May 2013

Day 164: Sunday, just trying to catch up...

Day 164 (19 May) Sunday. It's a clear day. Quite possibly a day to do some decent laundry...

The light is later at 6.12am
At 6.12am, though not quite up and at it, I can see the light through the window. I think there is a pattern developing with the weekend 6.12am photos...there will be a nice comparison over the year when this is done. 

Given that yesterday was a play day, there is a bit to catch up with. There is this blog of course, since the week just escapes at the moment. I do generally enjoy the discipline of the daily writing, but even I am not quite up to writing a post at 1.00am.

Dinner, almost, at 6.12pm
So an ordinary sort of morning, cleaning, writing, reading and so on. I plan to go and meet up with Jenny, Chas's wife this arvo. There is much to talk about. 

Sunday is also the morning politics programs: Sunday Extra on the radio, Insiders on twitter, followed later by a radio replay of Insiders. I'm still not convinced to get a TV. I'm anticipating an interesting election campaign. 

There's also the decision to be made about going shopping. The new local supermarket is open until midnight so I can have dinner, get some work done and head out a little later. It beats tangling with the crowds at 6pm. After dinner, at 6.12pm. Sundays, just trying to catch up, that's all. 

The funeral is Tuesday...I hope I have the words just right. 

Day 163: To market, to mareketta...

Day 163 (18 May) Saturday. And a bit of a sleep in. I really shouldn't calculate hours slept during the week but when I think about it, I average about 3-4 hours across four nights of the week. And then probably only six hours most other nights. Oh well. The end of the teaching semester should bring on a few earlier nights. 

Straws, at 6.12am
Today is a rehearsal day with the clarinet choir. I missed the last one because it was the one before a play out, and besides, I had my school anniversary to attend. I enjoy the clari choir...it is surprising how, over 12 or 13 years, we've managed to craft a sound, even when we play a new piece. It is a great group. Of course, Chas was involved from time to time, as a soloist...he was always happy to join in. 

So it is an early-ish start to get to rehearsal on time. At 6.12am I'm in the kitchen preparing breakfast, but also charging the various i-devices. The power point is near the milkshake mixer and straws...photographer-eye takes over and the colours and structure win out. 

Mother's Day
Marketta, at 6.12pm
After rehearsal, on the way through to visit mum, I stop to get some flowers. Later in the day, the sun strikes one of the plants in an intriguing way. So it is a bit of a belated Mother's Day, but deliberately so so we can head to the Miami Marketta again. It's a great concept with food stalls and music and some work of a local artists collective. It just doesn't feel like the GC. After real French crepes, vegetarian nachos, bratwurst and tiramisu to die for we head home. Oh, and 'lashings' (well, one bottle) of ginger beer, real ginger, real beer...very doable. It's always lovely to have a day with mum. 

Home to work, read and think for the week ahead. The politics continues too, what's in store for the week? 


Day 162: Some mornings it's good to get the detail...

Day 162 (17 May) Friday. It is back up the Coast today to listen to a seminar about the website, The Conversation, about which I wrote last week. The Brisbane-based editor lives not far from me so I have arranged to give her a lift, it is a good chance to catch up and we have some common interest in 612ABC too. Good trip. 

The light, at 6.12am
Bonsai on bonsai
Early start therefore, and keeping in mind the photographic origins of this project, I'm again intrigued by the light at 6.12am. There's also a small spider on the bonsai...some mornings it is good to get the detail. 

We head off to the Coast for the day. I have plenty of other material to catch up with besides the seminar so although it would be a good day to be home to do some research, it is also helpful to be at work, where other things can be done as well. 

Pizza decisions, at 6.12pm
It's an earlier than usual return to Brisbane, the southbound side of the Bruce Highway looks distinctly different in the afternoon. It is a particularly clear afternoon sky and the Glasshouse Mountains look beautiful in the afternoon sun. One day I will find time to photograph them properly. I get home in time to have the beer and pizza night friends and I haven't had for a few weeks. New menu. 

It's a week since Chas left, I'm aware of that. It's been a long week and another one coming up. I've made plans to spend Saturday afternoon visiting mum. That is something to look forward to, I must say. 

Day 161: 'All those in favour...'

Day 161 (16 May) Thursday. Well, it seems I got through the day unscathed...it wasn't in anyway a disrespectful tweet and subsequent convo but may be just on the edge of a 'please come to the Dean's office' about it. 

Thursday has a touch of the 'long day' about it too, I just have to switch to Japanese until 9pm. Today is also the day we hold a branch meeting to endorse the claims for the next round of bargaining...that is something that will take up my time post-semester too (just in case there is anybody left out there thinking we academics don't work...much). 

Budget wins and losses,
at 6.12am
At 6.12am I am following up on some of the continuing analysis of the budget and various campaigns carried out by interest groups and lobbyists with regards to the budget spoils. The verdict on education remains 50/50...universities will have to make do with less. It is hard, there's not a lot left to cut. 

Koyo, of sorts.
I'm also due to pick up a colleague to car pool to work soon so get going; at a set of lights, my photographer's eye notices the colours in the foliage on the median strip, almost like the 'koyo' or autumn leaves in Japan. 

Much of the morning at work is taken with preparing notes and proxies and so forth for the midday meeting. It is an important one and we need to make sure everything is right. At some point I need to also make sure the six hours of teaching ahead is prepared...I'll be running straight into them this afternoon until late. 

The meeting passes without too much incident...there are a few points to clarify and one or two other things, but mostly all fine. All were in favour...

The library, at 6.12pm
Thursday night's class is tricky...an awkward combination of students who have missed the important first tute and those who can work on...it is a matter of teaching two classes simultaneously...patience doesn't really win this evening. The 6.12pm pic is of the library at night; an award-winning building, it is the centrepiece of the campus and I pass it on the way back to my office to retrieve materials the students didn't have in class.

I get back to the office at 9pm. I have a few things to tie up but not too much...I'm returning to campus tomorrow to attend a seminar. 

I miss the Opposition Leader's budget reply speech this evening...I can justify streaming the budget into a politics class live, a little harder for first-year Japanese class...something else to catch up with soon. 

Day 160: The tweet that kept on giving

Day 160 (15 May) Wednesday. Early start again for the threepeat 10.00am lecture. What a story to tell them...I think, early on in the morning, until...
All that reading ahead,
at 6.12am

As usual, I was finishing off breakfast, contemplating the day ahead and at 6.12am, noticed the pile of periodicals and journals that I was thinking at some point I must read. 

It was only this week I had been speaking with a colleague comparing our work now with my entry into the academic profession; when I first started, I used to 'timetable' in a few hours in the library each Friday with the express purpose of going through the latest journals and new books. It was the pre-digital era and it was an important time to catch up with latest developments in my field as well as time to think and write about my work. We don't have that time anymore. In the name of 'efficiency' we've had that squeezed out of our work time, considered a waste of time and a luxury. I don't think students are getting the best they can as a result. 

At 6.30 am however, following a 'heads-up' tweet from 612ABC newsreader (and fellow #612tweepster) Shelley Lloyd, there was a snatch of last night's conversation with Rebecca on the news...'oh. my' as we are wont to say on twitter. Oh my. Oh well, a bit of a chuckle between us and I thought that was that. Once I got to work however, turns out that ABC Sunshine Coast replayed the chat from the night before, at about 5.20am...the tweet I sent to Shelley and Rebecca to let them know, was of course retweeted by ABC Sunshine Coast...the power of the random tweet indeed. I wonder what Tuesday night's class will think...

Wednesday involves five hours in the classroom over a span of 10am to 7pm and time thereafter for consulting with students. The loss of a good friend is catching up with me and it is not the best week to be teaching. The lecture has some interesting elements in it, but it is not the lecture I'd like it to be. Good thing there are just a few weeks left. 

Class, at 6.12pm
At 6.12pm, there is a bit of a break and I duck back to my office to retrieve some resources that, had I been more on the ball, I would have had in class. It is a manga for Japanese working holiday makers planning to go to Australia; it is a guidebook 'with a difference', dating from the time that manga were used for just about everything...it's a bit of an artefact these days though; still it makes for an interesting talking point for the next hour. 

I need to follow up some of the Budget commentary and analysis, especially for the tertiary sector, before heading home. It's another late finish. 

Day 159: The power of the random tweet, ha ha...

Day 159 (14 May) Tuesday. The first of three long days at work. Today is quite busy. On the one hand, tonight the Treasurer presents the Budget, on the other, my Union is one of several organising a 'national day of action' as accompanies budget days when we need to make a point about funding...

The budget is delivered during my Tuesday night lecture to first-year politics students, perfect timing I should think. Imagine, if the internet can turn up an 1854 document for consideration in real lecture time, then how great is it that a politics class can watch the Treasurer in real time deliver the budget...perfect opportunity methinks. 

At the fridge, at 6.12am
Loris, at about 6.12am
But before that, it's breakfast and time to make lunch. At 6.12am, I am at the fridge which, typically has the usual collection of fridge magnets one has collected over the years. The photo in the middle is one I took some years ago in Japan at a place where 'shiba sakura' grows, a kind of play on the beauty of the pink cherry blossoms (sakura) but which is more like a kind of flowering grass (shiba). It is quite a spectacular sight. 

Also out feeding the birds, there is quite a picture of a couple of the loris sitting on one of the starker branches; it is reminiscent of a picture I painted at school many years ago. 

I head up to work and organise our branch's contribution to the national day of action, a stall outside the main eatery on campus, and aim to attract attention. Universities aren't exactly the hotbeds of political action these days, more a place to transact goods and services...as I was to find out later this evening. 

I have another class to attend to and revise tonight's lecture so that there will be time to catch some of the Budget statement at 7.30pm. We also know that Chas's funeral will be next week, and I've been asked by the family to speak...a eulogy of sorts, but not quite. That takes a little of the background attention.

Lecture, at 6.12pm
In class at 6.00pm, I let the students know we shall use the opportunity to listen to the Budget speech. I give them some background--about why it is important, relate my experience of having been in the 'budget lock-up' many years ago, how it will be valuable to hear for themselves what the Treasurer has to say, before the journalists analyse it. It is the stuff of live classes!

At the appointed time I 'flick the switch' to the broadcast; I tell the students to listen for the 'rhetoric' in the Treasurer's speech--we've just studied the major parties' 'values and beliefs', let's watch that unfold here; I suggest they follow on Twitter to watch that interaction and 'live commentary'...I'm excited! I also tell them, as I must, that there is no compulsion to stay for the duration and that those with buses to catch etc can leave (although we are not going beyond the normal lecture time because I too have yet another class...). Slowly, and quickly, students leave rather than stay and listen. As I am occasionally wont to do, I casually tweet about it...

A random tweet
'Politics students given the opportunity to watch the budget being delivered, in class. Two remain...' 

It gets the attention of a few people, notably 612ABC Evenings presenter, Rebecca Levingston...after a few tweet exchanges, I'm on air with Beck just after 9.00pm chatting about it. There's a bit of a lament about the apathy of students towards politics, especially a politics class. I give them a few excuses, Rebecca quite rightly points out there are no excuses really, and she is right of course. I was disappointed they hadn't taken this opportunity...shame I couldn't test them on it...

Anyway, pleasant radio chat over, it's back to work, a few things to tidy up before leaving the campus. I'm home after Delroy's quiz 'The Challenge' begins, indeed, my usual Tuesday night Caboolture barista is signing off her midnight shift when I arrive...these are stupidly long days...










Day 158: Count me in, it's back to the orchestra

Day 158 (13 May) Back to Monday, back to work. It is week 11 in the teaching semester so just three weeks left. 

Reading, at 6.12am
Monday is my South Brisbane day so I don't have to be up as early as other days. Still, I wake up at the usual time and so have a little 'luxury' time, reading. I'm getting through A Clockwork Orange and although I know of its reputation, I wonder if I should be seeing the play in a couple of weeks. I think the fact it is a 'classic' is drawing me in...plus I like theatre. 
South Bank, pm

This week's topic is the public service and interest groups. I plan to introduce the students to the Northcote-Treyvelan report on the civil service, 1854. It is readily available on the internet and I think it is important to show students the value of primary sources, the lyricism of the language of days gone by and the fact that a lot of very little in history is 'new'...I also remain fascinated with the way the internet can be used  as a teaching tool, the fact that I can easily pull up a facsimile copy of an 1854 document...too easy. 

We enjoy a good discussion afterwards and get a bit of an early mark because there is no tute presentation after the lecture. That gives me a chance to head over to South Bank to do a couple of chores and I guess just reinforces how different it is working in the city compared with commuting 200km each day to work. I realise that I only have this luxury for another two weeks, I have enjoyed it. 

Working but
thinking rehearsal, at 6.12pm
Home at a reasonable hour I set about doing some more work and making a late lunch/early dinner mash-up. I also realise that it is rehearsal night. I have a decision to make. It has been difficult to get back into the swing of things this year with the orchestra. I was a little damaged by some committee politics last year and haven't had my usual enthusiasm for it so far this year, in fact, I don't think I've been at all. 

Chas had told me to put it aside and get back to it...it is something I enjoy after all, it is very special to be part of an orchestra. With Chas's passing last week, for St Lucia Orchestra was one of his orchestras too, I realise that if I don't go back tonight, I may never go back and my mate Bromley would be saddened. I debate it internally for an hour; Bromley wins and I take a deep breath and go to rehearsal...it was OK. When I get home, I raise a glass of red in his memory, and thank him quietly. Chas, still here. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Day 157: On the importance of history...and taking nothing for granted.

The trees, at 6.12am
Day 157 (12 May) Mother's Day, Sunday. It is raining. The washing won't happen. 

Just to confirm, I wander by the laundry and check the backyard. OK, maybe not pouring rain, maybe I could do it but the clouds look ominous. Besides, there is a bit of a date with history this morning to attend to. 

Looking out my back door...at 6.12am
A long-term friend of the orchestra, getting on, would like to pass on some of his books on history, mostly involving Queensland. We caught up with him again last night and made the morning tea 'date'. Armed with brownies and brioche we make our way over to his place. He has tremendous knowledge and experience in the TAFE sector, dating back several decades, and at quite significant times. The morning chat extends until after 1.30pm. My friend, an historian, for whom the books were intended, can't help but see a rich history and story to be told. A specialist in oral history, we talk about the importance of recording stories before it is too late. I was part way through recording Bromley's orchestra experiences. I'm not sure we'll finish it now. We must never take anything, or anyone, for granted. 

Reading, at 6.12pm
Earlier in the day, I arranged with my mum that I will visit next week...we both agreed that a visit to that food market at Miami next Saturday will make the perfect 'belated' Mother's Day. 

I've spent much of the rest of the day jotting notes for Chas's funeral...much contemplation on the importance of taking nothing for granted. I've also been working away (on updating the blog) getting ready for the new week. It will be a little different now. I must also start reading A Clockwork Orange...I've booked to see the play in a couple of weeks. I've not read the book. 

And now we hear that Clive Palmer has changed the party name to Palmer's United Party...I now really hope I don't have to sell a PUP this week. 

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And apologies if the blog has been a little self-indulgent and maudlin this past week...he was a good friend, a really good friend. I will miss him. 

Day 156: Everything and nothing

Day 156 (11 May) Saturday. I've had a bit of catching up to do sleepwise. It's a play and concert double today, normally a day I look forward to. Over breakfast, I ponder how to send a text to my friend's family...is there a chance of a visit? 

The sunrise, at 6.12am
At 6.12am, it is one of a Saturday series of views out my window. As winter approaches, it is getting a little harder to get up and at it, if I don't need too. Still, the #project365 photographer in me is intrigued by what the 'Saturday sub-series' might end up looking like over time. Well, that's my excuse.


I go out to get the papers, some milk and yes, croissants ... why not. The text I've been anticipating pings the phone at 8.24am. Chas passed away the night before, just as I got home, just as I was hoping to catch up with him. Another bummer of a day ahead. 

These are tough times we all experience at some time. So many thoughts run through my head. A friend calls but what can be said? As has been my habit of late, I turn to writing to put some thoughts down. You can visit psephy's~ologies across the way to see that. It is a freakish moment on the radio when ABC Classic FM plays Ron Hanmer's Pastorale or theme to Blue Hills. It is QSO, St Lucia Orchestra, Chas and me all tied up in one. Some things simply defy explanation and rationale. 

Stepping out, to RED at QTC
I'm due to step out to the play Red, about Mark Rothko and a QSO concert tonight...I will. Art has a way of helping us to contemplate those things for which we have no explanation. I sense I will be better of there than staying at home alone with my thoughts, and regrets. And yes, it is a contemplative day. I'm stepping out with a good friend who understands these things even more deeply than I do, it is a comfort. The play is just what I need, it is the drama of art and the art of drama. It works. 

In between times, I have a chance to speak with Emma, Chas's daughter. It is a comfort.

Heading to QPAC, stopped at lights,
at 6.12pm
In the evening, I turn out to the QSO concert. Chas had so much influence on my appreciation of music. It is hard to meet friends in the orchestra and audience and share the news. Some know, some don't. It's hard but right to share in the concert hall. I really only heard the piccolo this evening, that was Chas's instrument...that was his place, for so many years. Cancer sucks. 

At some point today, the whole Clive Palmer UAP thing has turned stupid...despite the day, I can't help but keep up with the politics. Peter Slipper is apparently joining the party to secure the 'federal member' necessary for registration. Good grief. By the time I get home, his membership has been rejected.  Oh, I hope I don't have to explain this next week.