Sunday, September 29, 2019

Thought Provoking Questions

It's been a very productive long weekend, considering we get a day off for a football game (Australian Rules Grand Final yesterday  - of which I've had next to no interest in as my team was out of the finals and yesterday's final was walkover and one of the most boring games of footy I've seen in ages - saw the last half - ) .

So far this weekend I've:

  • Cleaned the flat
  • Received the new washing machine and fridge (both are excellent - the fridge won't give me food poisoning now)
  • Arranged, at a princely sum, clothing to wear to the wedding in India in a few weeks (one salwar kameez and one lehenga - gawd)
  • Gone to the gym
  • Set up the new NBN network in the flat. 
  • Had a pedicure
  • Finished a short story. 
  • Did a proper food shop - with vegetables, cos now the fridge will keep them cold now.
  • Made arrangements to get the Masons' paperwork done. (Joy)
And still do to:
  • Arrange my visitor's visa for India
  • Apply to do some undergraduate tutoring at a local university
As I said, productive. 

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing

If you could instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would you give?

'You are smart. You are kind. You are important.' Oh, if I had learned this well before my 40th birthday...

What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?

Kindness. And a sense of humour. Without either, I don't rate that person.

What are you most grateful for?

My health. After two weeks of being off colour, I so miss being healthy. I'm not sick now, I just want this ear to unblock so I can hear properly again.

Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?

No, although it's not the most desirable way of getting help, sometimes it has to be done.

What do you want most?

At the moment, a bit of security. I have some security, but it would be good to feel a little more stable. Lots on my mind at the moment, but I often feel like this when my contract is coming to an end. I'm sure the universe will provide - sometimes it's a matter of waiting for things to fall into place. Touch wood, things will work out.

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

I like to think that these two things don't need to be mutually exclusive, but I err on doing the right thing. I'm good at finding other ways to do things.

What has life taught you recently?

Oh, these are deep questions. Life has taught me that no matter how much you struggle, there will still be curve balls that come your way. It's not what you do, but how you approach it all.

What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?

I'd love for the world to be a lot fairer. And that people start listening to science. We're getting spoon fed by mega-rich, science denying despots. Enough is enough.

Where do you find inspiration?

In the gym. It still amazes me how much I can do in there. It's a great place to lose myself and find myself. Some of my best ideas are found on the treadmill.

Can you describe your life in a six word sentence?

Sometimes fortune does favour the brave.

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

I think this is a pride thing. As I've got older, I've got over this one, thank goodness for the most part. It's only when I knit that I am terrified of making a mistake. I hate unpicking knitting.

What impact do you want to leave on the world?

It would be wonderful to have a legacy like that of Margaret Atwood or Salman Rushdie - to be a writer who's ideas are valued. But as that is very unlikely, I'd like to be remembered as a kind person who left a limited footprint. That will be enough. I'm nothing special.

What is the most defining moment of your life thus far?

Probably getting my Master's degree. I never thought this would happen. I never thought I had the brains to make this happen. It did.

In the haste of your daily life, what are you not seeing?

Probably some opportunities, and some of the goodness that goes on in the world. It's a scary place out there at the moment.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

Probably conditioning - there is this thought out there that we have to suffer to get anywhere. It's not true. You tend to be a lot happier doing the things you like to do. Must is a word that should be banished from the English language. A sense of obligation is a terrible thing.

What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?

Music, kittens and puppies, gin. kindness, being near water... that's a few of them.

Have you ever regretted something you did not say or do?

Yes. I didn't tell somebody how I felt about him when I probably should have years ago. It doesn't matter now, but it may have changed some things. I don't like to think what if I did, but it is my one regret.

Has your greatest fear ever come true?

No thank goodness - and may it never come to pass. The thought of a long, slow drawn out in agony is my greatest fear.

Why do we think of others the most when they’re gone?

Probably because we're berating ourselves for not thinking about them enough when they are alive.

What is your most beloved childhood memory?

Playing with the animals when I was on the farm. I miss having animals. I'll look after anything small. I'm good at it. I miss having a dog.

Today's Song:

(and I promise to not play the God-Awful Western Sydney Giant's theme song after their 80 point drubbing at the hands of Richmond yesterday. It was even more pathetic an effort than what happened with the Crows two years ago.)

I'll go with Nick Cave instead.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Colloquium Meme

It's been an eventful weekend, part of which involved going shopping for a new fridge and washing machine. The fridge is needed as my current 18 year old model is trying its hardest to give me food poisoning. The butter is not hard. Iced water would be better sourced from the tap. Anyway, the new appliances are turning up next Saturday. Yay. I feel like a grown up. I also found a salesman I'd happily buy stuff off again. For me, this is a big thing, as I hate over sellers.

Also saw the most wonderful film, The Farewell. American / Chinese fare. It's awesome.

Questions, as per normal, have come from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Last person you were in a car with?

Oh, that would be a the end of last month, when my friend Quin and I went across the Westgate Bridge to go see a movie at the Art House cinema in Yarraville. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was great. But yeah, that was the last time I was in a car with somebody, unless you count an Uber ride about a week after that.

2. Any plans for tomorrow?

Going to work, going to the gym afterwards.

3. Best friend or close friends?

Have a few close friends. They're scattered around the world. Jonella and Blarney are more like family.

4. Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

I hope so.

5. Ever thrown up in public?

Yes. But thankfully not for a long time. The last time I remember vomiting in public was on a plane - but in my defense, I had a stomach flu / gastro.

6. What’s on your mind RIGHT NOW?

Finishing this blog. Knowing my malfunctioning fridge is going to be gone next weekend.

7. Who was the last person you talked to?

Jay and Trish after the gym this morning. Online, an old uni friend got in contact this afternoon.

8. What is the WORST subject they teach at school?

Physics. Hated physics more than I hated P.E. (Phys Ed / Gym)

9. Have you seen anyone lately that you don’t get along with?

Yes, but there is no need to talk about that. Not the forum - and it's minor stuff anyway.

10. What is your favourite color top to wear?

Pillarbox red. Love red.

11. Have you ever been in a car accident?

Yes. Only one, it was very minor and it was about thirty year ago. Long may that remain.

12. What’s the closest thing to you that’s green?

I have a dark green blanket on my couch (sofa).

13. Where would you like to be right now?       

England. I love being in England. My feet are very itchy at the moment.

14. Is anything bugging you right now?

Yes, lots of things. The Federal Government and their stance on most things - the Environment, Coal, the family cou
rt, the unemployed... pretty much everything they do is sooooo misguided.

15. Is life going right for you now?

At the moment, yes. Long may it remain.

16. Is there someone you care about more than yourself?

Ah, no. Not at the moment. There are a few people who I care about the same as me. If you can't look after yourself you can't look after others.

17. What made you laugh today?

There were some rather funny parts to the movie I saw this afternoon. Situational stuff but it made me chuckle. Nai Nai rocks.

18. What was the last movie you watched?

The Farewell. Comes highly recommended.

19. What was the last conversation you had about?

Jay, Trish and I were talking about football and how the Richmond  supporters are going to be insufferable if they win the Grand Final next week - and what a cracking quarter of football was had last night (Collingwood versus Greater Western Sydney. Collingwood lost by four points after a solid comeback in the last quarter in a really low scoring game - it was great to watch)

20. What were you doing at 7:00 this morning?

Reading in bed.

21. Do you like your hair long or short?

I've had long hair for a very long time.

22. Do you like the rain

I love the rain. Winter rain, Summer rain, tropical rain - love it all. I was brought up on a farm. You love the rain when you've been brought up in the country.

Today's Song:

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Book Tag Meme

God, I hate being sick. I've been hacking up my lungs for the last two days. Fun.

Thankfully we've got quick, easy questions that won't take up too much energy. I'm over coughing.

Questions from Bev at Sunday Stealing, always.

Who is your favourite author?

It's a toss up between Margaret Atwood, Louis de Bernieres, Richard Flanagan and Salman Rushdie.

What was the last book you read?

Currently reading The Choke by Sofie Laguna for book group. It's very good. Australian fare.

What book reminds you of your school days?

Anything by Randolph Stow and To Kill a Mockingbird. Love to Kill a Mockingbird.

What book releases are you looking forward to?

I've got a copy of Margaret Atwood's The Testaments on my kindle. It came out last week  - it's next on the list.

What movie releases are you looking forward to?

I'm going to take myself off to see Downton Abbey soon - loved the series, the movie should be fun.

What 3 books are you planning to read?

I'm looking at my slush pile in front of me. Some titles from the yet to be read pile are:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Overstory by Richard Powers
  • Bridge of Clay by Markus Zuzak
  • Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
  • Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Have you ever damaged a book?

I have been known to dogear corners. That is as nasty as I get to books. I do try to use bookmarks.

How long does it take you to read a book?

Depends on the size and complexity, but when I get into a book it normally takes about a week.

Books you haven’t finished?

  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - thrown against a wall after 30 pages
The first an last books need to be dipped into. Too immersive to do in one sitting.

Popular books you didn’t like?

I'm not a real popular fiction reader - but I could not stand the 50 Shades of Grey books. That and the Twilight books - they were really bad (bar the first one)

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell people you were reading?

No. Reading is reading. It's good for you.

How many books do you own?

Far too many - there's around 1000 peppered around the flat.

Are you a fast or slow reader?

I'm a fairly fast reader.

Do you read better in your head our out loud? 

In my head. Sometimes I have to read things out, but that's to gain a bit more understanding.

Today's song:

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Compassion Meme

Well, after thinking I was going to die in a plane crash yesterday, I am here. Bathed, relaxed and glad the winds have died down here in Sydney, as I don't want a landing like that in a hurry.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

What is the most fun thing you have ever done?

I've done lots of fun things in the past - but I still think the balloon ride I received for my 40th birthday was one of the most fun things I've ever done.

There are lots of things to choose from.

Are you left-handed or right-handed?

I'm technically ambidextrous, though I write with my write hand. Don't make me use scissors with my right hand - I just can't do it.

What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?

I have fond memories of a friend looking after me when my Dad died. She was just there, not in my face, not leaving me alone. She was just there. And I will never forget this kindness.

What is the biggest animal you’ve seen in the wild?

I've seen some pretty big red kangaroos. Oh, and elephants in Thailand, but they weren't technically in the wild.

What is the smallest animal you’ve seen in the wild?

The antichinuses at my folks place are tiny. The size of mice.

Do you ever have funny dreams at night?

Not often. I rarely dream, but when I do, they are weird.

If you could make a law for your country, what would it be?

I would ban all religious and corporate intervention in affairs of the state. Too much crap comes out of these two things.

What would you do if you were invisible for a day?

Probably sneak into the theatre - something good. Maybe even take a plane somewhere. That could be fun.

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

No, I'm good with being me. Though I'd like to be Scott Morrison for a day and overturn a heap of his rank policies.

What would you like to change about yourself?

I'd love to have a much faster metabolism.

What is your daily routine.

During the week, wake up, have half an hour to acclimatise to the day, shower, breakfast, train to work, go to work, lunch around one, leave around five, do my nightly activities (gym, dinner, what ever that might be) shower, go to bed. Repeat.

What would your perfect day be like?

Long sleep in, decadent breakfast, maybe a  swim or a gym, a decent movie, catch up with friends, lovely dinner at a good breakfast, nice cuddles just before going to sleep.

How old were you when you learned to read?

I think I was four when I learned the basics off my grandmother, but picked it up quickly at school when I was five.

What is the most interesting thing you know?

I know far too much crap to put down one fact. I know that penning a novel is an interesting process - and it is a process.

What makes you nervous?

The current state of the world and the climate.

What is your favourite flower?

I love roses of any persuasion.

Have you ever ridden on a horse or any other animal?

Only horses and cows as a child, and I've been on one elephant ride as an adult.

What time do you go to bed?

Normally sometime between eleven and midnight.

What time do you get up?

I'm often awake by 6 am, but get out of bed just before seven.

What is something that is always in your refrigerator?

You will normally find the following in my fridge: Mustard, smoked salmon, pickles, eggs and macadamia milk.

Today's song:

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Music Asks Meme

So today I am celebrating my return to Australia after a long time in London. I'm also celebrating my 20th anniversary of living in Melbourne.

It's a different city to the city I came to 20 years ago. It's a different country, different political mindset, different lots of things.

Am I different to the person who came back here all those years ago.

So while I'm in this pensive mood, a quiz about musical tastes is a good thing to get my out of this funk. And as I have such strange and varied musical whims, I will demonstrate with video clips.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

A song you like with a colour in the title

Silver by The Pixies. Love this downbeat song of theirs. It lets you get a breath when you're in the mosh pit.

    A song that needs to be played very loud

Song Two by Blur

    A song that makes you want to dance

Smooth by Santana. It gets the hips moving.

    A song to drive to

I like driving to Simon and Garfunkel - it's timeless. Me and Julio down by the schoolyard is a classic.

    A song with a number in the title

9 Crimes by Damien Rice. Love Damien Rice.

    A song that makes you happy

April Sun in Cuba by Dragon. This always reminds me of Summer when I was a kid. And Countdown, the best rock and roll program ever. Vale Mark Hunter.

    A song that makes you sad

He was only 19 by Redgum. It's about the Vietnam War. Most Australians can sing along to this.

    A song that reminds you of summer

This is a strange choice as I've used April Sun in Cuba already, but it reminds me of Summer nights in London.

Glory Box by Portishead.

    A song that you remember from your childhood

One of the joys of having a good memory is the crappy songs you remember from childhood. This one was playing in my head the other day. It is awful, but I sorta like it.

    A song that breaks your heart

My Funny Valentine. It always cuts me to the quick. Doesn't matter which version of it is playing.,

    A song that you never get tired of

My favourite song for over thirty years has been Reckless, by Australian Crawl. It's just my song.

    A song from your preteen year

I was 12 in 1980. Some great music came out then. But I've alway been a rock chick and Blondie is still one of my favourites.

    A song that is a cover by another artist

Ah, Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 You was originally released by Prince. The later version is superlative. But I'm giving this to Brian Ferry's version of Jealous Guy, which was first released by John Lennon. Ferry whistles better...

    A song from the year you were born

Oh dear here we go. Lets dust of the vinyl... Gotta love a song about eskimos.

    A song that makes you think about life

The Waterboys Fisherman's Blues gets me for some reason. Every damned time.

    Your favourite song with a persons name in the title

Cecilia Ann by The Pixies. One of the best songs off the Bossonova album.

    A song that you think everyone should listen to

I get a bit of my new music off of the soundtrack to Suits. I've got a newfound love of soul thanks to Suits. This comes from there.

    A song by a band you wish were still together

I'm a bit of a fan of The Police. They were great.

    A song by an artist no longer living

Another member of the 27 Club is Amy Winehouse. Such a waste.

    A song by an artist with a voice you love

There are so many voices out there that I love, so many to choose from. But live, one of the best I've seen is Jason Mraz. He's got the voice of an angel. Great recorded - better live.

And today's song, just because: (From the year of my birth)