Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 25. Day 238. You can all duck off

 And here we go again. It's that time of semester where the overwhelming sense of drowning begins. Where the piles of marking mount and the piles of bottom flare from sitting so long over the mounting marking. It's exhausting and of course the more you need sleep the less time there is for the dearly beloved ZZZZZs. But I have come to realise that saving time by tying yourself to your desk is a false economy. The brain as well as the bottom need a break and the dogs need a walk. So off we went to visit the ducks. I feel fairly certain that the ducks could have lived without the enthusiastic welcome offered by Rumple and Winkle. They were, indeed, ducking for cover but when it was all over I know we all felt better for it. And it's not as though the marking's going anywhere much as I might wish it would. Sighs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24. Day 237. Rain, rain go away

 The only advantage of a rainy Wednesday is that it doesn't make a day spent marking feel so bad. The marking still sucks. The resentment is a little less, or at least I think so. There would want to be some compensation because there is one big, fat negative - Winkle. Winkle, she of the book Winkle Did a Wee, reverts to character every time it rains. Every single time. Pretty Princess Winkle simply refuses to get her fur or her paws wet. She wees indoors and today she decided to do number twos as well. Yes that was a plural. Not only more than one in my house but in more than one house. She left a little present when we went to visit Margaret as well. Seriously, cleaning up dog sh*t makes marking look like a walk in the park. Perhaps that was her gift to me today to distract me from the pain of marking. It didn't work. It just gave me another thing to be annoyed about. But with hump day over things can only get better, right? Right?????
(Please say yes. I'm talking to you, Winkle)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23. Day 236. It's hard to get good help

If you want a job done properly do it yourself. Well that's one philosophy and I admit that there are times when that is the best, often the only way to go. Trying to find someone and brief them and supervise them and then correct the mess can take more time and effort than simply pulling your finger out and getting on with it. But there's no need to be silly about it. Recognising when to delegate and/or outsource is a fine life skill. You have to trust  that the master knows what he or she is doing and leave him/her to get on with it. My dogs are especially good at that. They are incredibly trusting. They watch me with admiration and trust with no sign of doubt or questioning. They might "prompt" gently around meal times but for the most part I'm the leader of the pack and they are good with that. There must be times, however, when they wonder. Like today. My only job was to take them to the dog park after a long day marking. They had been most patient. At the dog park you don't need much - the dogs, a ball and I normally pack a treat to reward them when they come when called at going home time. Well at least I had the dogs. One out of three ain't bad. It's terrible. The forgiving little creatures played chase instead and tomorrow they will once again leave me in charge and once again I'll probably fail. It's hard to get good help.

August 22. Day 235. Art imitating life

Sure, life sometimes imitates art but it is so, so interesting when it happens the other way around. This is especially so when it's about sex, religion or politics. The story of St Mary's, a Catholic Church in South Brisbane just down the road from where I live, is a story of such intrigue, such fascination that it reads like a stage play - and now it is, or at least it will be in a week or so. The priest and congregation of St Mary's is now in exile and worships not in the church built Italian Renaissance-style church built 1893 but in the very ugly Trades and Labour Council building which is, ironically, just across Hope Street. The story of how the church in Brisbane split and how Father Peter Kennedy was excommunicated from the Catholic Church is the story of an unholy uproar within the church. When you hear Queensland Theatre Company Artistic Director Sam Strong talk about it, as I did at a play briefing tonight, you just want to see it. It is rare that a writer and cast are able to meet the individuals they are representing on stage. It is rare for an audience to be able to see such local stories on stage before the ink is yet on that page in history let alone dried. It is an exciting project. I'm pretty sure that after two years in the development stage, this isn't the last we will hear of St Mary's in Exile

 Father Peter cried when he saw it at a special private preview. I have a sneaky suspicion I might just do the same.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21. Day 234. A tissue, a tissue. We all fall down

Chronologically speaking I'm a grown up.
But age is only a number and the number 51 doesn't adequately represent me.
Some days 100 might be closer to the truth but on the inside I think just about all of us are big kids.
I'm a kid still trying to work out what I want to do when I grow up.
My neighbour Margaret is a big kid who giggles like a little girl whenever the dogs turn up and just about everyone at South Bank at the Sunday sessions on the lawn became a big kid when presented with a giant Jenga set. 
And why the hell not?
Little blocks are for little kids. Make the blocks a bit bigger and big kids can't resist.
It makes absolute sense.

And that comes from a big little kid.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August 20. Day 233. You're only human

There's a convention in the theatre (actually the theatre is full of them but for the purpose of this exercise I'll pick just one). At the end of the show when taking bows, the performers gesture to thank those back stage, those in the lighting and sound booth, the orchestra if there is one and the audience. The audience. The audience who on paper did nothing but sit there. The audience who bring nothing but themselves and their $$$. The audience who in fact bring everything. A bad audience can ruin a show as much as a bad performance. You've got to bring with you a willingness to be entertained. Obvious really but under-rated. You'll hear performers say "tough crowd"  and I've sat in a theatre that might as well have been packed with crash test dummies. I've also sat in the audience packed with friends and family which can be just as annoying because they laugh too early or too loud or in the wrong places. Which brings me to today.  I was at South Bank when I saw a familiar face, a performer known as Melon the Human AKA Tom Stewart. A storm was approaching so Melon decided to rush to preform before the heavens opened. The crowds eagerly gathered and moved in close as the finale approached. Melon choose a volunteer whose job it was to blow bubbles behind him as he juggled giant bubbles. Simple enough but she just didn't play along except in the most perfunctory, disengaged sort of a way. I've seen more life in a lecture theatre at 9am on a Monday. Remember this bloke successfully auditioned for Cirque du Soleil. Remember he charges nothing. All you HAVE to do as an audience member is play along. That wouldn't seem like much to ask but she wasn't playing. Not to be deterred Melon the Human put in a super human effort and the crowd cheered. Some even opened their wallets. To the rest of you, I hope you used that $5 or $10 you might have contributed wisely. There might be no such thing as a free lunch but a free performance we take for granted. Hardly seems fair.

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19. Day 232. Stone the crows

Humans have an extraordinary ability to find a common enemy to blame rather than face an uncomfortable truth. We like a scapegoat even if that creature is not a goat but a crow.
I mean they do not sound pretty but they do perform a most useful service. And if they are annoying bin feeding opportunists, the question we really should ask is who left the waste lying around in the first place? The crows on the steps of QPAC this morning were just doing what nature intended (although strictly speaking nature probably didn't intend for Grilled chicken and chips but you get the idea).
We leave our bits lying about and then get all judgey with the crows for having a go. That hardly seems fair now does it?
Personally I think there's an elegant beauty to the crow and I do find I have a natural affinity to all creature so determined to get a feed.