Day 358- August 14, 2010

Work. Worky work. Charlotte likes to think that that’s her phrase, but she’s horribly wrong. It is obviously mine. Also, she is from Queensland, so you cannot trust her.

So after seven hours teaching English, I headed down to the Peacock Hotel in Northcote for my cousin Anna’s birthday. The place was pretty nice and the chips were even better (possibly the best I’ve ever had!). After going home briefly for dinner, I went out again to Matt’s place for a party/gathering/soirée/wine-and-cheese-(and-scotch)-do.

I was a bit unsure about what to bring, not being confident in my choice of either wine or cheese. Also, bringing a packet of crackers would look a bit cheap and silly and would be worse than bringing nothing at all. Hence, I arrived with a large jar of pickles, as they go excellently with cheese. Pic related: it’s me holding a jar of pickles.

Day 357- August 13, 2010

Not too bad a day. Not bad at all. Mainly because it’s all tutes on Fridays, and they’re quite a bit more engaging than lectures. I was particularly thankful for my Terrorism tute, in which a plethora of psychoanalytic concepts were explained to me in language I could actually understand (and so now I can bandy about terms like “the symbolic order” and “point de capiton“, even if I can’t pronounce the last one).

Russian wasn’t too bad either, as we learned some quite hilarious proverbs. My favourite was “кто не согласен с маршрутом, тот может сойти”, which pretty much means “if you don’t like it, you can get lost”. Very useful.

And, finally, Broadway, in which I gave a “presentation” (quite informal, really) on issues raised by this week’s readings, which mainly pertained to the adaption of literary texts into musical theatre and the extent to which these texts were changed and also to the history of operettas in 1910-1920s America. This then spilled over into a discussion of the various interpretations that can be made of musical films such as Mary Poppins and the Wizard of Oz. Some people objected to political and sexual interpretations of Mary Poppins ruining their childhood memories, but I thought it was all very good fun. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that Glinda (the “good witch” from Wizard of Oz) was a complete bitch.

Home and readings and dinner and playing Bowie on guitar (pictured) and being glad that I wasn’t on Lygon St when two people were shot dead.

Day 356- August 12, 2010

No photo? No problem. Today’s options consisted of “Chicken Drumettes On Brown Rice”, “Things On My Bedroom Floor” and “Out-Of-Focus Photo Passed Off As ‘Abstract'”. I eschewed the photographic medium today and made one of those Obama-type pictures, but it still totally counts because I used a photo to make it.

Not that much to report. A generally bleak day when it came to the weather, which doesn’t make things that fun. I mean, it does when you’re having coffee in a cobblestoned laneway or on a tram, listening to music and pretending to be in a European movie like on SBS except there’s not as much softcore nudity in real life. Otherwise, it’s just a bit, well… bleak.

And then when the weather’s like that and you’re feeling a bit tired, you really are not in the mood for annoying things, which of course are drawn like metaphorical ironic magnets to you in that situation. Take, for example, a very common annoyance on public transport: the person situated anywhere between one and a dozen metres from you with earphones in their ears and their music somehow managing to be heard over said distance. This person is almost inevitably listening to terrible music (with the single exception of an incident about a year ago in which I was treated, instead, to The Who).

Secondly, I simply cannot understand why people insist on sitting in the seats closest to the aisle rather than just moving up one when they know you’re going to sit next to them. I mean, really. It’s not like they have a surfboard/harp/kendo stick/other bulky item which would require the use of an aisle seat. If they did, I would understand. BUT THEY DON’T. (Sadly, because a harp on a train would be quite a sight). Is it that they enjoy that awkward moment where I have to squeeze past their knees, trying very hard not to fall over or knock them out with my bag? Seriously.

And, finally, possibly one of the most annoying things in the world: annoying readings set by lecturers who I suspect are trying to push the limits of what we’ll actually attempt to read. Today’s treat (apart from an excerpt from Hobbes’ Leviathan which was printed in the original Ye Olde English with choice phrases such as “Civill Warre” and “spoyle and robbe” which caused me to read the entire thing in Bill Bailley’s voice and hence be distracted) was something about man-wolves and man-gods and god-men and god-wolves and wolf-men and wolf-gods and wolf-becoming-man and something like that. No, it wasn’t to do with Twilight and was in fact supposed to be related to terrorism. It was extra fun to read as it was translated from French and was riddled with wordplay which had to be explained by a combination of italicised word in square brackets and footnotes referring to things I’ve never read but apparently should have.

So, yes. Did not take any photos of any of that. But at least I finished reading, even if I’m not sure what I just read.

Day 355- August 11, 2010

Got up nice and early today (or quite late, if I were a baker– it’s all about perspective!) and took the train into the city for my first day volunteering in a charity cafe called Kinfolk. I came across the cafe by reading reviews in the newspaper and decided to check it out. The cafe is located in Bourke Street, right across from Southern Cross Station, in Donkey Wheel House (pictured), a beautiful old building which houses many other charities.

All in all, it was pretty good fun. Everybody was friendly and helped me learn where things went and how things were done (I’m being terribly specific here, I know). I stacked and wiped dishes, took orders from customers, delivered said orders to tables, sang along with everyone else when Ruby by Kaiser Chiefs came on the playlist and, best of all, got free (and good!) coffee.

I then went into uni and briefly met up with Charlotte (who got in line nice and early to score us tickets to the Arts ball- hurrah!) and Jackie before heading off to my Broadway lecture with James, where we learned about the oft-overlooked pros of blackface, social developments of the Prohibition era and Mary Poppins.

Somehow managed to get home without being rained on in time for tutoring, which was followed by dinner and another good Wednesday night of television. I will be very disappointed when the election rolls round and I won’t be able to watch Gruen Nation or Yes We Canberra anymore. Sadface.

Day 354- August 10, 2010

More reading! Luckily, this reading was quite a bit more comprehensible than yesterday’s. And I got to read about Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz, topics that are generally less disagreeable than psychoanalysis and Foucault.

It was good to be in from the weather, as although it was not horrible or rainy or anything like that, did look pretty cold. And the house is warm. And eugh at having to go out tomorrow. Kind of considering the Homer Simpson technique of qualifying for a work-from-home kind of thing by gaining a dangerous amount of weight. I think the amount of junk food I ate yesterday should assist in that effort.

Not that much to report. Ended up playing with the camera and light in the evening, took some weird shots using long exposure and a torch. I took this one by having the shutter open for 15 seconds and having Dad stand at one end of my room with the torch and shining it on me once I was at each of the three positions. Completely random, of course.

Day 353- August 9, 2010

What a productive day! Well, productive by my standards. I can’t speak for the real world, but by my own reckoning, I deserve a sticker of at least the dinosaur variety (the dinosaur is above the elephant but not quite as good as the rocket ship). I did the washing, I vacuumed the house and even made dinner in the evening (meatballs again). I also ate an entire packet of Doritos and half a block of cooking chocolate, but I’m less proud of that.

I also did some reading for my Terrorism subject, which was quite painful. Unfortunately, the course is somewhat slanted towards a psychoanalytical approach and despite the fact that the lectures are quite engaging, the readings are both agonising and incomprehensible.  Difficult, I can tolerate. Boring is quite manageable. But when you read the same paragraph over and over again because the sentences don’t make any sense, the language is pompous academicese and you have absolutely no idea what the article is about, it gets a bit annoying. I mean, the one that made the most sense was a transcript of a speech by Bin Laden. I think that’s saying something.

But I got through it (well, with skipping bits) and unwound by making dinner. Rolling meatballs is always theraputic. And it wasn’t a bad day; the weather was quite nice. It’s good when you get to the part of the year where you can tell that the days are getting longer, when the sun sets noticeably later from week to week. And the winter sun is quite cheery. See photo.

Day 352- August 8, 2010

Mmm sleep in. How marvellous. Coffee, followed by a breakfast of many pieces of toast. The bread was of the white, fluffy, inconsequential kind (if one may describe bread as inconsequential) that demands to be eaten in large quantities or it won’t fill you up. How selfish of it.

After doing some… well, nothing, I rugged up (including putting on my winter coat for the first time this year!) and went out to the city. After foolishly alighting at Parliament Station (you know, the one with the massive escalators- pictured) because I wasn’t patient enough to go through the Loop, I met up with Alex and went to Nandos, where he had the pleasure of waiting over 20 minutes for his burger. It didn’t help that the movie we were to see was just about to start, but the cinema was just across the street so it turned out quite alright. We also decided against stealing sauce bottles/cutlery/the wooden chickens that indicate table numbers as retribution and instead moved on with our lives.

The film we saw was The Invention of Doctor NakaMats, a quirky documentary on an eccentric Japanese inventor who claims to have invented the floppy disk, believes he will live to 144, has photographed and cataloged every meal he has eaten in the past 34 years and judges cameras on how good they smell. Quite a good laugh. Then, we parted ways and I walked to the train station, only to find that our pathetic excuse for a public transportation system only has trains running once an hour on Sunday nights.

Being bored of the station platform, I went instead towards the Yarra River for a walk and some photography. Some quite blurry photography. I really need a tripod. Eugh. And then, eventually, home.