Sunday, 28 July 2013

Day 221: Public exhibition.

Roppongi Hills (Midtown) Streetscape 1

 Day 221 (15 Jul) Monday. The plan is to spend at least a couple of days in the library while I'm here. Problem is I've been caught out with a new public holiday, 'Umi no hi', or day of the sea; that's today. Then on Wednesday, the library has its regular third Wednesday of the month holiday. Sometimes my timing is a little off. 

Another view of the garden,
at 6.12am 
So it's a bit of a day to get around and do some further observations. Jinko also has a plan to head over to Roppongi Hills, a complex of apartments and shopping. She and her photography friends we travelled with yesterday have had their photos exhibited at a large public exhibition of 30,000 photos from around Japan. How are we to find three out of 30,000? No problems...the photos are exhibited in prefectural and alphabetical order. Still, it is much fun seeking out the photos. 

Supermarket, at 6.12pm
It's been many years since I visited this part of Tokyo, in fact, not since this complex was completed. The buildings make for an interesting photographic exercise in itself, which we spend some time doing. There is also a trade fair of goods from the Fukushima area. There is still some real concerns about radiation and the impact this is having on food and tourism and the economy. This is a pretty upbeat exhibit, trying to encourage people to not be afraid. Although 3.11, the earthquake/tsunami/power plant disaster is over two years ago, it is a part of the every day. 

One the way home, we stop by the supermarket, which is where I happen to be come 6.12pm...dessert or not to dessert, that is the question. Actually, I'm looking for yoghurt...the supermarket has changed everything around since I was last here.

Home to watch more politics, but to also plan the day in the library. I have much to do. 

Just a few hints of the photographic charm of Roppongi Hills and surrounds.

Roppongi Hills (Midtown) streetscape 2

Pausing for coffee, Roppongi Hills
Fukushima/Tohoku display

Roppongi Hills (Midtown) building

Day 220: A castle, and some local politics.

Day 220 (14 Jul) Sunday. We're off to Odawara today, just south of Tokyo, an hour or so away on an express train out of Shinjuku. The plan is to leave about 8.00 to get to the meeting point. 

Outside the room, at 6.12am
I'm up at 6.12am again, checking out the weather...through the insect screen, just as a point of difference. We have breakfast and depart on the adventure and meet up at the appointed time. Of course, with four people interested in photography, it is going to be an interesting day. We compare cameras, lenses (this was confirmed the night before via email) and one person in the group collects stamps from castles she has visited. The person who is hosting us is the president of the interest group with which Jinko has an association. He has offered to show us around his 'hometown'.
Odawara lunch

We arrive just on lunchtime (so much of my timetable in Japan seems to be scheduled around eating) and we have quite a lovely lunch, at a place well-known for its variations on the local seafood. 

It's a very hot day and we have to be really quite conscious of the heat. It's a different heat from Brisbane with a higher 'heavier' humidity which can really take its toll particularly with people carrying much camera equipment. Typically, with a castle, there will be trudging up a hill involved. We take and compare some fascinating photos. This is one of the more interesting exercises I find among fellow photo aficionados: what comes of us all taking the 'same' subject? There's a bit of time to compare notes as we stop along the way in tea shops and cafes. 

The trip home, at 6.12pm
The trip home was on a regular train from Odawara into Shinjuku, and we were still there as 6.12pm rolled around. Once home, we uploaded the pics to our respective devices and compared notes. Most interesting. Oh, and I got to see some of the local political candidates as well. A good day all-in-all. The castle pics will be loaded up over at psephy's-ologies a little later. 

Day 219: Out and about

Day 219 (13 Jul) Saturday. You might recall this blog was in Tokyo about seven months ago, just after it got started. The 6.12am pics then were quite dark, being the middle of winter and all. Not so this time. Quite a contrast each morning with the light coming in around 4.00am. 

Outside my room, at 6.12am
My daily timetable shifts quite a few hours when I'm in Tokyo, it's just a different rhythm to life. So a 6.12am wake-up is usually a little early for the rest of the house. Breakfast is usually about 8.00am before heading out to do work. Jinko has plans for us to head to Odawara Castle tomorrow with some photography friends and former work colleagues so today I plan to spend a little time in town, again, just noting, observing, checking out the latest books. 
Streetscape on the way home

Looking at the 'latest releases' displays in bookshops gives you a pretty good idea of the main stories at the moment. Naturally, there are several books about 'Abenomics', the so-called economic policies of the incumbent prime minister, ABE Shinzo. There are many more books about the Constitution than I have ever seen before. Pro and anti-amendment. It is a key issue in the lead up to Sunday's election. 

The territorial disputes remain prominent as they were six months ago when I was last here and a number of books, memoir perhaps, of famous people and their views on life and its meaning. I always have a problem limiting myself. 

Mugi cha, at 6.12pm
On my way home, I notice the streetscapes have a little more colour than previously. I'm home in time for dinner and a 'mugi cha' just before that...nothing else says summer in Japan like mugi cha...bottles are constantly made up in the fridge, like water. 

Noting the small stuff
A night of watching the news again. There is little doubt about Abe's predicted win, it's just by 'how much'. 

We also do a little bit of camera prep for tomorrow's trip to Odawara. A combination of 'girls' day out' and camera excursion. We are split into Canon and Nikon factions... We bough the tickets on the way home too, rather exciting. 

Day 218: Tokyo day one

Day 218 (12 Jul) Friday. The flight has been quite a  smooth one (though sitting right next to the galley is always an interesting way to go) and we are a little early so, the captain informs us, we are slowing down a little to meet the 6.00am curfew at Narita airport. At some point, Mt Fuji is visible from the left hand side of the plane. Being summer, there's probably not a lot of snow on top. 

Breakfast, at 6.12am
Brisbane time, strictly speaking. 
Anticipating a 6.15am landing (and hence an 'all electronic devices off' situation, I take a pic at 5.12am Tokyo time but since the phone is still on Brisbane time, it's the pic of the end of breakfast at 6.12am. I've seen a lot of these breakfasts, they don't change that much. 

Ice from home
Immigration and customs is reasonably quick which means I end up on the other side quite early in the morning. My Japanese friends and I have a standard operational procedure each time I go to Tokyo. I get on the 'limousine bus' direct to one of the Ikebukuro hotels, we have a breakfast and then we head to home along the Tobu Tojo line. We've cleared customs so quickly however that I avoid ringing them until a little closer to the bus departure time ay 7.30am. I'm left to do a little more people-watching until then. Still, gives me a chance to pick up a newspaper and the weekly news magazine I have a habit of reading. 

Dinner, at 6.12pm,
Tokyo time
Into Tokyo, breakfast and a train trip later, we arrive at my friends' house to unpack. I have a bit of a plan to use some of the day to get out and about to some of the major train stations to see if there is any political activity going on. 

Back home in time for dinner, my first foray into the political milieu comes up a little dry but I've seen a few things of interest. Dinner and a sharing of the usual gifts including some ice-block's a very hot summer in Tokyo so dinner is soba and salads...the rest of the evening is checking out Japanese interesting. 

Some of the more serious current affairs programs are explaining the various political agendas. It's going to be an interesting few days. 

Day 217: A night in transit

Day 217 (11 Jul) Thursday. The day will be spent at airports, the evening on a plane to Tokyo. 

Last 6.12am Brisbane dawn
for a few days.
I always look forward to Tokyo, even if it is stifling summer days and nights. I like to catch up on the goings on, the politics, the language and the general social milieu. It has been quite a while since JAL stopped flying into Brisbane and it didn't take Qantas long to drop its direct flight either. That means going via Sydney and adding another five or six hours to what should be a direct eight hour flight. Timing between domestic landing and international take off means little else to do but hang around the airport for a few hours. 

I spent quite a bit of the time planning my modus operandi over the next week or so. Basically,  I want to get around to see as many political rallies as possible, soak up the 'election' atmosphere, try and get a sense of how the electorate is feeling about the potential for major constitutional change. Naturally I plan to spend a couple of days in the National Library as well, updating my resources. 

People watching and reading,
at 6.12pm, Sydney.
But airports can be good places for people-watching which is what observers like me like to do and there was plenty of time for that, especially at the bar I found myself sitting at at 6.12pm (drinking only coffee). 

Boarding was quite quick and there was a spare seat between me and the next passenger, so that's not all bad. 

Take off as scheduled, landing planned at 6.15am...what pic in store for tomorrow? See you on the other side. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Day 216: two-one-six 216 on 612 six-one-two (see what I did there...)

Day 216 (10 Jul) Wednesday. A day of running around. Haircut, money, gifts for friends. Planning the things I need to take with me tomorrow. Passport, phone and camera and really...the rest can happen over there as needed. 

Dark, at 6.12am
It is dark at 6.12am at the moment. Not helped by the fact we are moving into another period of rain, most unlike Brisbane winters, or so we are all thinking. It's bin morning and I've got to get the bins out before the truck comes along. It certainly makes for one of those interesting 'noir' pics (or so we amateurs call it when we don't get it quite right). 

The temperatures in Tokyo at the moment are quite high, along with high humidity. It is always a bit of an inconvenience travelling across such dramatic seasonal differences. I've been meaning to get my haircut for a while and the impending hot weather reminds me to do so. There's a bit of shopping to do as well so I head off around 10am to do so. Picked up a bargain while shopping, a computer error on the part of the shop apparently, advantage me. 

Still a few things to do tomorrow morning in the city before I leave but just about ready. It is sort of bad that travelling to Tokyo has become a bit like catching a bus to work...nothing of the sense of adventure it might have once been. There was a time very early on that it seemed almost impossible to get there, now I go annually. I'm rather fortunate in that respect. 

Home mid-afternoon and the Sea Eagles have sent a nice little memento: 'We Bleed Maroon'...perfect timing for the third and final state of origin coming up next week, when I'll be will be interesting to see if I can find an ex-pat gathering to watch (not that I usually do that sort of thing, but then, I'm not usually in Tokyo for the third SoO). 

This evening, working away on a few notes and drafts for some research and writing I'll be doing next week. Besides the election, there is some interest in how the whaling issue is being reported in the Japanese press. Australia and Japan are presently in court in The Hague. I'm keen to see how that plays out. 

In the kitchen, at 6.12pm
At 6.12pm, I'm in the kitchen (unusually), cooking up something to eat. Something out of the little that is left in the fridge...

I didn't quite get everything I hoped to get at the shops today, I hope I can pick them up in the morning. In the meantime, The Ashes begin...a big one for cricket lovers everywhere. 

And look at today: day 216 on the 612 for the number crunchers. 

Day 215: Solving the world's problems, one pizza at a time

Day 215 (9 Jul) Tuesday. Today will be my last day on campus for a couple of weeks. There is a bit of tidying up to do. 

So it is up and at it at the usual time. The earlier I get there, the earlier I can leave...that's always the plan anyway, if not the reality. So, breakfast at 6.12am along with yesterday's paper and listening to the radio of course. 

Too much cheese? at 6.12am
At work, there are some meetings to attend to and conversations with colleagues which, as I've mentioned recently, we don't get a lot of time to discuss these days. There are several things we get to chat about but the convo ended up heading towards how to keep the common tearoom clean. Mundane perhaps, but I've rarely been in a workplace where we get the tearoom 'right'; bit like the share-house of old...and the fridge... We've come up with a might work. 

We've also discussed a few more ideas over lunch. Interesting how chief amongst our discussion over the day is how to bring collegiality back into the university workplace. I've discussed this a bit over at the other blog. It might be the time of the year...but there's a 'flashmob' this space. 

Squeezed in an interview today too with the local TV station. Asked about the high percentage of 18-19 year olds who don't enrol to vote (about 43%) we ranged through a number of reasons why that might be so. In the end, I suggested that, in the same way we are talking about raising the drinking age back up to 21 years, perhaps we can do the same with the voting age. It may well be that if voting is not of interest to this age group, then let's leave it for a few years when it might become more interesting, or more relevant. Is it a solution? Well, let's talk about it, in our tearoom...where we solve all the world's problems. 

On #theBruce, at 6.12pm
Also heard, what sounded like, my #FactCheck being used on the radio this morning as part of an interview by Steve Austin to acting Premier Jeff Seeney. Nice. 

Managed to be heading homeward a bit earlier than usual and indeed on #theBruce (as we've come to know it) at 6.12pm this evening. Given my impending absence, the Friday night beer and pizza night has been brought forward to Tuesday night. We continue to talk about solving the world's and the tertiary sector's pizza at a time. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Day 214: Monday, Monday, Monday...

Day 214 (8 Jul) Monday. School day again. Nothing new here really. Breakfast, office, work, home...move on.

I'm heading into the office with the optimistic hope that I might get some research preparation done. It's the 19th century Japanese views of Australia project that I'm keen to get back to before classes start again and before I head to Tokyo, but that doesn't turn out to be the case. 

Breakfast, at 6.12am
Breakfast at 6.12am. Its oats time here in Brisbane, it's how we distinguish winter from the other seasons. I quite like them. 

The day at work consisted of lots of little admin mop-up operations and discussions about future directions of courses and programs. I probably should have stayed at home if I was going to get any work done although, as the 6.12pm pic shows...those filing draws are full of the materials I need to sort for the project. I was looking at them with some despair by that time. 

I'm also starting to tune into the Tokyo election and fortunately the Asahi Shimbun hasn't put up the paywall for election material. There is so much data to is truly a psephy heaven. Following the news on my Japanese twitter timeline is generating some interest too. 

Tokyo prepping
The Conversation's #FactCheck site, which kicked off formally today and where my piece about Kevin Rudd and the airport delays featured, seems to have been received quite well. That's good to see and nice to be a part of it. Made all of the last few days work worthwhile. 

My 19th century files,
at 6.12pm
Speaking of my local member...Kevin Rudd held a press conference at 5.00pm to announce some major changes to the way the leader of the Labor Party will be elected. Part of the vote will be given to the rank and file membership of the party, not just the parliamentary members. The Australian Democrats have had this process in place for most of their existence and as it happens, it was one of the major reforms brought about with Japan's governing party, the Liberal Democratic Party. It has not really solved the problems the reformers thought it might over there...we'll have to wait and see how it plays out here in Australia. It is a shift to a quasi-presidential approach which I don't think will work well with our ostensibly Westminster system. Let's see. 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Day 213: Observations during working moments

Day 213 (7 Jul) Sunday. It occurs to me it is some 18 years since I moved into this house. That is most definitely the longest I've lived in any one place. Sounds like a reminiscence to kickstart a blogpost...

Still reading, at 6.12am
Colouring the day
There's been an even distribution of work and 'relax' during the day. I don't mind the odd day at home and do nothing (much) kind of days. It's different. At 6.12am (I note I'm actually waking up without the alarm now) I continued to read the same book I was reading yesterday, the novel about North Korea. I'd like to have it finished by next week, in time for incorporating it in the Northeast Asian security course. 

Once up though, there are chores to be done, notably the washing. That is task number one. I need to do a bit of tidying up around the garden too...random leaves and twigs all over the place need picking up. Task number two. I recall I had a moment's thought about taking a week off to do these sort of things before teaching starts but time has caught up and I won't have that luxury. 

We'll be finalising the Conversation piece today too. I've been giving much thought to it and how to best account for the fact I've been asked to check. Working with journalists and editors this way is a really valuable experience. It gets sorted by the end of the day and will go out tomorrow...anticipation. It's quite different from the usual academic publishing route where an article can take some years to get from 'thought' to print. The internet has changed that. Whether my university will consider it a valuable metric or not is yet to be seen...

I've noticed that a moth on the door has barely moved all day. I think it tells us something about taking it easy. It has spectacular colouring, I think. I also spend the afternoon clearing up the leaves and matter out the front and notice the different texture in the lawn. I have an idea about a new #project365...but let's see if this one gets finished first. 

Dinner, cooked! at 6.12pm
I've spent some time reading the Anna Goldsworthy Quarterly Essay. It went in some directions I guess I didn't expect it to go. Interesting and while it was 'political' by definition, it was not the analysis of the politics I was anticipating. 

By 6.12pm, it is dinner time, unusual for me to cook at home at this hour. Sunday night simple fare: scrambled eggs. I keep reading, I keep planning the writing which will be done this evening. I remark on the fact I've been here 18 years and this is day 213...all at once. I remember it's important to make life's smaller observations of the whole. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Day 212: Play : Cello : Eat : Ice-cream

Winter in Brisbane
Day 212 (6 Jul) Saturday. A play day, mostly. Start the day with a little catching up on the week's events plus a play to attend. I might just spend a little extra time at South Bank in the sun, it seems just the day for it. 

Reading, at 6.12am,
must be Saturday
I'm awake and reading at 6.12am, and stop to ponder the fact that I've managed more than 200 photos of my activities at 6.12am (give or take a timezone). Quite, well, silly really. I didn't really imagine I'd get this far but there you go, I shall persist. It seems I do pretty much the same thing at 6.12am each Saturday and Sunday, reading and listening to the radio. At least the 6.12am Tokyo shots coming up will be a stark contrast to the ones back in December/January. 

I've also spent the last couple of visits into town looking for a particular CD by a cellist who toured here recently. I didn't get to see her perform, but heard her on the radio. Alisa Weilerstein is her name and she has made a recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto. Those who know their cello music will know that the Elgar crown has been worn by the late Jacqueline du Pre for many, many years, hers is the standard. According to some, Weilerstein is there. 

#612bluesky at QPAC
One thing I've learnt recently, is that following the closure of some larger music stores in Brisbane, there aren't many places that stock a decent range of classical music recordings. I've thought of one last possibility today and failing that, I shall simply have to get it in Tokyo. ... I find it! Yay. 

With a bit of extra time on my hands, I do as I usually do before a play and sit and watch the world pass by at South Bank, eating my usual ice cream...this is Brisbane, this is winter...and there is another #612bluesky pic just waiting to be taken. Plenty of pics later on too on my twitter timeline. It's been a lovely day. 

Elgar, at 6.12pm
The play, Venus in Fur, is, to say the least, most entertaining. Challenging in places, and a sharp mix of 1870 and current times. Home again thereafter (if the bus driver doesn't kill us all first) and I was listening to the CDs I bought today. The recording is as sublime as I've been led to believe. Marvellous. I think if I were starting out in a musical career, I would choose cello over all other instruments, it is my favourite in the string family, sort of equal with the string bass, which I also like, for its jazz...I content myself with knowing that those of us who play the bass clarinet consider it to be the cello of the woodwinds. I've also bought, out of curiosity, a 'remixed' version of Vivaldi, I'm curious. Can you 'freshen up' the Four Seasons? Well, yes, it seems. 

Another night of writing and thinking ahead, for tomorrow I mow the lawn and tame the garden...

Day 211: Planning

Day 211 (5 July) Friday. A planning day ahead over the other side of town, but not until...infusion part 2. 

It's been a few days since the sky showed its lovely dawn tinge. At 6.12am it was nice to see it again. I also have a bit of time to catch up on some work, and have another look at the 'FactCheck' piece, I think it is about done. 

Good morning, at 6.12am
I also have to drink plenty of fluid, of the non-coffee variety. I'm rather bad at remembering that. Another couple of hours spent hooked up to an iv bag today pumped full of stuff to keep this condition at bay. At least the conversation with the nurse is interesting enough to pass the time. Turns out there is a Queensland Symphony Orchestra 'connection' and some interesting material on China. At some point the machine stops its interminable beeping and a couple of hours later I'm off to do some planning for the branch at the Union head office. More bus trips, but a change from the car. 

We need to plan bargaining times and strategies, member get-togethers, meetings, notifications and newsletters. I admire those with me who have been in the game much longer than I have. While I'm not yet tired of the bargaining process itself, I do wonder at the seeming intransigence of the 'other' side. My colleagues though, know the plan, what to do, when to do it. It is such a learning curve. 

Completely experimental,
at 6.12pm
Once done, it is back to the city to get home. I should be doing a few things by way of preparation for the trip next week...but...I'm better to rush in and around next week, last minute kind-of-thing. It is the second time in six months I'm travelling to Japan 'out of season' so finding suitable summer attire in town at the moment is a bit tricky (not that the weather is strictly winter here). 

On the bus at 6.12pm and quite a full one at that. Tonight's pic is going to be a challenge, creative and my solution is there at the right ---->>>.

Week's end
(with carefully placed apostrophe)
There is some more work to do on the FactCheck after all...gee, this is an interesting process. I'll turn my attention to it, right after some light, week-ending refreshment. 

There is much that needs to be said about our politics at present, the next blog can't be too far away. I've also changed the date for my next play and I'll be seeing it tomorrow...I'm looking forward to it...I planned things well enough to sort out that date. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Day 210: Hampered by bureaucratese and doctrinal programmatic specifique demands...

Changing seasons, the bonsai version
Day 210 (4 Jul) Thursday. 

...but first, coffee! Yes, a day at the office mostly, wrestling with course outlines...not the substance but the dressing...the title of this post basically sums up my view of the intrusion of superfluous bureaucratic demands on the art of teaching...but enough of that. 

Today the Ekka photos are being delivered (ta-da-) and, in the spirit of a little 'down-time' at this time of year, I'm joining another wonderful tweepster, @Corinne_Salmon for coffee near the university. Excellent, and a new coffee shop to try out too. 

Whaling history, at 6.12am,
as you do.
At 6.12am though, a slightly slower start to the day but as I have noted, a good time to read too. One of my monthly magazines arrived in the post so it is time to flick through the stories while listening to the radio. A whaling story...timely as I start to think about getting some real time to draft my manuscript on the history of whaling between Australia and Japan and just as both countries are challenging each other in the international courts. 

I also like the way the bonsai is challenging the seasons..the last winter leaf is now accompanied by the new spring the start of July. That's your Brisbane winter done, more or less. 

In the office, at 6.12pm, really?
So after delivering photos, noting the seasons, having a coffee and a catch-up, the rest of the day (and evening) was in the office, tackling the aforementioned bureaucratese. Seven or eight hours...imagine how much substantial reading and lecture presentation I might have managed in that time...

I've also been working on the piece for The Conversation as well as planing the Tokyo trip. Some bold psephologists have already predicted a huge win to the interesting. On the drive home, the ABC's Q and A program is broadcast live from Indonesia, on NewsRadio. A most interesting accompaniment to the long drive home. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Day 209: A day with a 'french twist'

Day 209 (3 Jul) Wednesday. Weather has warmed up and, as we say in these parts, the Brisbane winter is effectively over. Well, for a while, until the Westerly winds of the Ekka. 

Working away, at 6.12am
One of the nice things about not having days determined by a timetable is the little bit of flexibility that comes with the work day. This morning then, I have a chance to catch up 'in real life' with two tweepsters, Cathy (@Chasseur06) and Patty (@Pattycam) both of whom I tweet with on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. We've settled on a patisserie in the city, French Twist at The Barracks. That's a bus trip and a bit of a walk for me, but I'm looking forward to it. We also include @Aquapuppy who has returned to Germany but tweet anyway, for when she wakes up. It's one of those nice things about twitter. 
Get me the subby! Our local paper...

But before that, I still have some writing to do. I've been thinking about the 'fact check' piece on the Brisbane Airport and so I'm up early drafting out the key points. At 6.12am I've been at the computer for about an hour...the notes are there now but I just need to put it all together. I think I should be able to do that after morning tea, the deadline is 4.00pm. 

On the way to the bus stop, I pick up the local weekly newspaper off the front lawn, might as well take it with me. I actually quite like reading the local paper, it gets down to a level I wouldn't normally hear about and, since he became the local member in 1998, Kevin Rudd had featured regularly. I consider it useful for work purposes...well that's my excuse. I'm glad I did today though, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry at the juxtaposition of the headlines on the front page...oh my goodness. 

It was wonderful to catch up with Cathy and Patty and as I've mentioned previously, it is one of the unexpected bonuses of joining up to the twitterverse. We are all rather well-behaved and quite disciplined considering the delicacies on offer. After an hour or so, I'm off home again and set about writing the article. I manage to get it done by 3.00pm, ahead of deadline. 

Arts and craft, at 6.12pm
That gives me an extra hour to get to mounting the Ekka photos. To be honest, I'm not entirely clear about the conditions regarding the mountings...can I attach a mat board? I do anyway, and attach the labels. That was the 'fun' I was having at 6.12pm, measuring, cutting, taping up the photos and card backing. By 7.00pm they were all done and packed up for delivery tomorrow...and then the waiting...I wonder if there will be a twist in this tale before the month is out. 

I understand Kevin Rudd remains prime minister at this stage. 

Day 208: Just ordinary, really

Day 208 (2 Jul) Tuesday. The weather is on the improve, but still cool and damp. It's another day up the Coast in the office, trying to attend to all that admin work which has been delayed because of computers...which were supposed to make life easier. 

The bonsai, at 6.12am
It is still quite dark at 6.12am and the bonsai (which has lost all its leaves) looks a bit eerie in the early morning. 

This non-teaching time of the academic year, contrary to popular opinion, is actually the time when we like to try and catch up on reading and research, finish off articles for publication, and increasingly, there is actually time it seems, for us as colleagues to actually stop and talk for change, rather than rush past as is so often the case. I also have some matters to follow up now that the old/new/reinstalled minister for higher ed, Senator Kim Carr, is said to be reviewing the contentious cuts to the sector, just at the same time my colleagues at ANU are hearing about 230 jobs to go. 

Hansard, at 6.12pm.
(Doesn't everyone?)
I spend a good part of the day looking over some of Kevin Rudd's statements to Parliament about the Brisbane Airport second runway. It was a key part of his election is turning into a political point and I've been asked to wade through the 'politics' of it...that's what I was doing at 6.12pm, reading Hansard...gotta love my job. 

Day 207:

Day 207 (1 Jul) Monday.  Still wet, still cold...relatively, it's colder than we are used to around here. I have to head up to work since software glitches didn't miraculously fix themselves yesterday. 

Breakfast &c., at 6.12am
I've been up for a little while at 6.12am, doing a bit of work and catching up on some reading about some political matters of late. Today we get to see the new ministry of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. There will be a swearing in ceremony...there will be, no doubt, much swearing in the polity--good and bad. And being the first day of the new financial year, all sorts of things come into being...most newsworthy today is the increase in power bills (over 20% in Queensland) and news that, via a 'legislative' glitch, Queensland politicians receive a payrise of, on average, $57, job is tricky sometimes. Oh, Clem7 tunnel charges are up, again. 

We have a final moderation meeting today should the software now work. I hope so, this has gone on too long. While at the meeting, I've had a call from 612ABC to speak to David Curnow, who is playing the role of Kelly Higgins-Devine, about the swearing in of ministers. First time I've been on the Afternoons program, this should be fun...I'll try to not be too serious, but let's face it, even I have trouble taking the objects of my research seriously sometimes. I'd best watch the swearing in ceremony I guess, lucky for us it can be streamed live online. 

A touch of noir, at 6.12pm
It is, however, as I suggest on air later, actually quite important to underscore the gravity and responsibility of the ministerial role, particularly after the last few weeks of politics. We really need to reset the axis. I enjoyed speaking with David. 

As I mentioned to a colleague later, the media fairy picks her moments...I can go for quite a few days with no commitments and then there seems to be a flurry. By the end of the day I've also been commissioned for another piece for a website...more on that later. 

I aim to leave a bit earlier than usual today, I have rehearsal and I need to drop off a commuting colleague at her car in time. That's where I was at 6.12pm, in the car park of the shopping centre on the northside where we meet to car pool. At rehearsal, well, it was one of those rehearsal nights where I didn't really have much to play. I jut sat up the back, listened and kept an eye on the football score. Manly lost, just. More swearing. 

Day 206: Die Fledermaus on the mountain

Day 206 (30 Jun) Sunday. It's a rather wet and cold start. Unseasonable weather in Brisbane at this time of year, we are more used to sunshiny days and clear nights. And although my day job means driving up and down the coast, today I plan to head up there again in support of some good community music friends. 

Too much reading to do, at 6.12am
I also have plans to get into the office on the way to try and deal with some paperwork in the hope that the software glitch has been fixed. So, I'm up early on for a Sunday to get ready to go. At 6.12am I see all the books I'm supposed to be reading...the pile is growing and I'm not really keeping up. I think I should move some to another room so they don't look quite so overwhelming...

The plan to get to the office is thwarted by an accident on the Bruce Highway which has held up traffic quite a lot. Wet weather conditions. The show starts at 2.00 and I'm meeting up with friends at 1.30 at the venue so I need to make a decision on the road about going to the office and then to Maleny...timing...won't make it to the office for any meaningful amount of time to I divert to Maleny. Shame about the weather, you can get some lovely pics from the top of the mountain. 

After party, at 6.12pm
The show today, Die Fledermaus, is presented by The Maleny Singers, a group we at St Lucia Orchestra have some close ties with. The Singers are conducted by Margaret Taylor, wife of one of our late and great conductors Derek Taylor. The Singers are accompanied by the Maleny Performing Arts Orchestra, a 'scratch' band that comes together each year to play the music for the shows. Chas was behind that orchestra and this will be the first time he won't be there to play. I'm here with Jenny, Emma and's one of those happy/sad days.  

The concert is a success. I have written elsewhere about the value of community and community music. The Singers put on a great show; I know many in the orchestra as well. Community music is like that. There is a bit of an after party, today's show being the last. That where I was at 6.12pm, just before I headed out into the cold and wet night. 

Later in the year, we'll be back with St Lucia to do a concert with the Singers, it is going to be a good one, I know.