Sunday, 22 September 2013

Day 245: Look at the roses, again

The other rose
Day 245 (8 August) Thursday. The Ekka starts today. There is also some news at work that will mean a few changes in priorities over the next few weeks, or months. That's OK. 

Breakfast, at 6.12am
Sometimes I can't help but marvel at the iPhone camera. Notwithstanding the money I have spent on actual cameras over the years, the phone camera never ceases to amaze with what it comes up with. The pic of the rose is raw, as is, no filters. It is one of my favourites this year. Timely, since over the next few days I will find out how my pics went at the Ekka. I remain a little anxious as a first-timer. 

After class, at 6.12pm
As a Sydney-born person, I've not been a huge fan of the Ekka but in recent years I have returned since my friends (and colleagues) wrote a marvellous history of the Ekka. The usual plan is to drop in on the way home from the university Open Day, this Sunday. But before 

Work is a little distracted but we get there. At 6.12pm, the teaching is all but done and there are some emails to attend to before the return trip home. 

It really is time to look at the roses. 

Day 244: Eyes on the skies

Day 244 (7 August) Wednesday. It should be an ordinary day...breakfast, work, lecture, tutes and home. But there are some matters which arise that in the end sometimes make me wonder about the extra unrecognised work I take on...but equally sometimes, there's just not much one can do. 

Breakfast, at 6.12am

Dawn colour.
So it is the usual breakfast ritual at 6.12am but the dawning sky just a little later demands attention for the colour it paints across the sky. One of the delights of driving north on the highway each day is observing the cloud formations as they change. 

The contrast just a couple of hours later once I'd arrived at work was too interesting for this photographer to ignore. I suspect next year's #project365 may just turn out to be something to do with clouds, or grass growing. The clouds are an endless source of photographic fascination for me. 

Just a couple of hours later
There is much to be done at work as the teaching semester begins to get up to speed. Assessments have commenced so there is the extra work that now begins with marking and the tweaking of courses as events begin to impact on our lectures. One thing about teaching contemporary politics is the ever-ready changes and responses that need to be made to the content. The Australian election campaign is generating some interest in our neighbours to the north so it becomes a bit of a focus. 

Tute, at 6.12pm
In the tute at 6.12pm however, we continue our reading of Dower's text. A few chapters in now and the students are engaging with the text and the content in really quite interesting ways. I think this will produce some very good discussions. 

Day 243: Bargaining...but not what you think.

Some very interesting cloud patterns
Day 243 (6 August) Tuesday. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It certainly gives the lectures in this week each year a certain poignancy, particularly when those subjects are International Security and Politics and Security in East Asia. Visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park back in the late 1980s probably triggered my interest in ideas of security in ways I didn't expect. 

A clear start, at 6.12pm
However, the day at work commences with bargaining over the enterprise agreement; one day I shall write quite a lengthy piece about this form of workplace negotiation...but here is not the place. 

Lecture prep, at 6.12pm
I also have some additional classes with students doing individual research projects. They are always interesting. 

There is some work to do to prepare the lectures for later in the week...and of course, the campaigning continues. Really, this the political discourse we deserve? 

Day 242: Campaigning begins...

Day 242 (5 August) Monday. OK, having seen Wolverine will give me some level of pop culture cred...somewhere, I guess. But work must go on and today is a rather 'politics'-type day.  

Of course, much of my focus over the next five weeks will revolve around the election. But tonight, after work, I must get myself to Queensland Parliament House for the Annual General meeting of one of my associations: the Australasian Study of Parliament Group, or ASPG. 

Toast, at 6.12am
It is a terrific group to be a part of as I have noted before. Tonight however, we are to elect a new executive and tentatively, I have been nominated to stand as the chair of the Queensland Chapter. The AGM is always held in the Legislative Council chamber, the original 'upper house' (since it is not used for its original purpose here in Queensland after all), which always gives these meetings a certain 'gravitas'. 

AGM, at 6.12pm
The day at work proceeds as usual...some discussion of the election campaign of course, but back down the highway for the meeting. I am elected, unopposed for the position. We are all very keen that we energise political debate and civics education here in Australia. How timely. 

I feel honoured that my colleagues have asked me to take on this post. I look forward to the opportunities it presents. It is home thereafter via a cuppa with a friend. There are quite a few extra things coming up over the next little while. I need a clone. 

Day 241: Werewolves in Tokyo...or somesuch

Day 241 (4 August) Sunday. Today I shall be taken to movie in a genre I wouldn't normally watch...but before then... there is work to do, books to read. 

Reading to start the day,
at 6.12am
A little danger
And so it is at the start of the day. One thing about regular early starts and the unpleasant hours of my work that not even Sundays, after a big night out, warrant a sleep in. But it is, as noted, a particularly good time to read usually while listening to ABC News Radio. 

This one is another political one, another about the malaise of the Australian Labor Party, it does seem to be a theme. Speculation early this morning about the announcement of the new election date. Might have saved a bit of trouble if Mr Rudd had stuck to the 14 September date nominated by Ms Gillard...but there you go...that's why there are so many books about the Labor Party I suppose. 

Everything still looked OK,
at 6.12pm
But it is off to see that movie...Wolverine. I tell myself it probably has some value in that it is set in Japan, starting with the bombing of Nagasaki (coincidentally the topic of this week's lectures, being the 68th anniversary) and with a rather contemporary take on Tokyo... In the car park of the movie theatre, I come across a most interesting sign warning of danger, one I haven't seen before. After the movie I decide that there is a rather strong Roland Bathesesque semiotic signifying going on...OK, a big way to say, 'not quite my type of movie'. Nonetheless, the trip home provides an interesting pic as we wait at lights. 

My political compass
Oh, while we were in the cinema...Mr Rudd announced the election date: five weeks away, 7 September. Psephologist antennae alert, this is going to be fun. I also had a go at the ABC's 'Vote Compass', a very interesting exercise to keep us psephies amused for days to come. 

Day 240: On being 'Exhumed'

Day 240 (3 August) Saturday. Working through the day though there is a little more dark news on the horizon with another friend, but there is (also) a determination that this won't stop things going on. [Bloody cancer...had quite enough thank you...]

Light and lines, at 6.12am
It is a slowish start today, the usual reading in the morning (I didn't realise I did that quite so much until I started this blog) and at 6.12am I continue to take a photographic interest in the light and lines through the window. At the end of this exercise it will be part of that interesting gradation of change over the year. 

I get out and about a little later to find the roses blooming somewhat spectacularly. These are quite fascinating, I've rarely tended them in any special way and they seem to thrive on almost total neglect...amazing. As a photographer, the angles always make a fascinating play with lines and colour (in this case). 

Arriving at the 'Keddie', at
A bit of a '612' event this evening is on the cards. Over the last few months, ABC Local Radio has been running a music competition for music bands 'that never were'. It's been interesting listening to the entrants and tonight is the night of the the Kedron-Wavell Services Club. I've managed to obtain a couple of tickets so head there with a friend for the start. At 6.12pm we've made it in time for dinner and then on to the evening's entertainment. 

Members of Diddly Squat, via their intro video
A good fun night of music and two preferred bands came up trumps and were declared the joint winners: Diddly Squat and The Roseberys. Interesting being a member of the audience at the 'Keddie' as 'Timmy' Cox nicknamed just a couple of weeks time, I'll be here again, on stage with the St Lucia Orchestra, for our annual performance. It will be quite a different session. 

It wasn't too late a night...we're all in the 'Exhumed' age bracket after all and there are things to be done tomorrow...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Day 239: Reviving TJ Ryan

Time to water the bonsai,
at 6.12am
Day 239 (2 August) Friday. The revolution begins today! Well, perhaps not quite but I'm meeting with some like-minded colleagues to get a think tank up and running, one which focusses on progressive policy ideas for Queensland. We might need it. 

I do have to go in for my infusion concoction which is supposed to be managing the RA. Meh. This is now a four-weekly ritual. Will it do anything? Hard to know just yet. 

I was up early enough to be tending the bonsai at 6.12am. It is that somewhat deceiving time given that there are no leaves but I know I have to keep up the water. The light is starting to arrive a little earlier in the day now too, I continue to marvel at that colour at that time of day, as with the silhouette of the trees. 

The meeting is at my old uni, UQ, in the afternoon so I figure I might as well head over after the appointment to do some work. We have an agenda to respond to as well so that should give me some time to do that. 

Forgan-Smith building,
at 6.12pm
It finishes just after 6.00 and at 6.12pm I just happen to be walking past the main building on my way to catch the citycat home...hardly feels like the eleven years since I left this place. There is a touch of nostalgia and hope as I walk away feeling like I'm part of a group that really wants to make the world, starting with Queensland, a better place...

Day 238: A philosophical approach

Day 238 (1 August) Thursday. An earlier than usual start today as I head off to pick up a friend for the drive north. That means at 6.12am I'm washing up and notice that the suds might be yesterday's cloud-like formation. 

Dishes, at 6.12am
There's another meeting to finalise some forthcoming union activity around Bluestocking Week. There's another 'first' tute, the International Security class, and the lecture as well. Today I hope to inculcate an appreciation of political philosophy, particularly the philosophy that underpins studies in international relations: Hobbes, Kant and others. I've come to appreciate this aspect more and more. That's part of what I plan to write about next year when I take some time out. 

A philosophical approach,
at 6.12pm
At 6.12pm, I've returned from the class with the pile of books I take along to show students, including some marvellous editions I have collected from second-hand bookshops over the years. It is lovely to have such copies, with notations from years gone by: marginalia as we tend to call it. It adds a layer of richness and knowledge and curiosity about the questions generations before have pondered. 

I eventually leave...tomorrow is a busy day. 

Day 237: Clouds on the horizon...

Clouds on the horizon
Day 237 (31 Jul) Wednesday. Week 2 and so the tutes begin. 

Tutes are traditionally the one place where some very interesting discussion takes place and this semester I'm using the same book for two courses. It is a bit of an experiment but the courses, one on security and one on East Asian politics, draw on themes (I expect) that will be covered in the book. The text is by one of my favourite authors, John Dower and it is a comparison of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, the US occupation of Japan and Iraq. Perhaps controversial, hopefully thought-provoking. 

An angle on breakfast,
at 6.12am
Breakfast at 6.12am is the usual for this time of year. As I drive up the highway it is always interesting to watch the clouds, today was no exception. As I arrived at work, I tried to capture the motion of the clouds on the horizon. That's all, quite literally, not metaphorically...

Tute reading, at 6.12pm
At 6.12pm, we are in class, making some opening comments on the Dower text. What is to be anticipated? Who would like to read and present which chapter? The usual first tute plays. Today's class is the group doing the course on East Asian politics and security. It already seems like it will be an interesting and engaging group. 

After class, it is more prep for the next day. The other course. Home at the usual time, via the usual service centre for the Bruce pitstop...

Once semester starts, the patterns are fairly predictable.