Saturday, April 14, 2012
Dinosaurs! Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston. February 2012.
As far as I can tell, this poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is *NOT* about dinosaurs. As someone who regularly works without hope, I'm not certain that I agree with Mr Coleridge.
Work without Hope, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair -
The bees are stirring - birds are on the wing -
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.
Friday, April 13, 2012
I want to break free... East Derwent Highway, Lindisfarne. April 2012.
Two very different books this week. The first is Judith Schalansky's Atlas of Remote Islands. Helpfully sub-titled Fifty Islands I have not visited and never will, this is a coffee-table book that combines hand drawn maps of fifty of the most remote and hostile islands on earth with brief, fable-like narratives of elements of their histories on the facing page.
Schalansky grew up in East Germany in 1980 and, unable to journey far, (and like many of thus) she travelled via the atlas. This book continues these imaginary voyages. Especially fascinated by isolated islands and tales of prisoners, castaways, natives and colonists, she has developed a book that draws the reader into these journeys. Not for everybody, but if this sounds appealing I would bet that you'd like it. Recommended for atlas-fanciers.
Second up is Up The Junction by Nell Dunn. Controversial at the time of its release in 1963, it depicts contemporary life in the industrial slums of Battersea, in greater London.
The book is a riot of colloquial speech and half-complete vignettes. It captures a chaotic life of fights, petty thief, casual sex, illicit births, deaths, prostitution and back-street abortion provided a view of life in the UK that shocked many.
As I've hinted, this is not your traditional novelistic structure. Mostly a series of incomplete sketches in the lives of three young women, it captures the lot of a [type of] woman’s life in the early sixties to now. What makes it particularly interesting is that this way of life has very much been ignored in literary works then (and to a degree) now.
This captures the feeling of both a nascent freedom (not just in relation to sex) underneath a crushing oppression. This is indeed a long way from the traditionally-understood feminist narrative. In some respects this is a bleak book. No details are spared and the lives described are particularly grim. There is particularly jarring description of the realities of back street abortion.
As such it is a powerful document of the time. The chaos will put some off, but it is worth the effort. Recommended.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Fearing the collapse of civilisation as we know it, and acutely aware of Tasmania's strategic location in terms of the forthcoming resource wars; Henry and Ezra have begun to construct a mighty fortress that shall withstand hordes of assorted barbarians, infidels, traitors, rapscallions, brigands, scoundrels, wastrels, ne'er-do-wells, blackguards, deadbeats, desperados, hoodlums, malefactors, miscreants, reprobates, ruffians, scalawags and wretches.
That should keep us safe for a while...
Cliffs at Clifton Beach. Clifton Beach. April 2012.
Theme Thursday and I really forgot to ORGANISE myself and pre-post today.
I will not let it happen again.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Ezra crosses codes and demonstrates that the might of the Essendon Football Club is felt even in the wild and woolly field of table soccer!
Quite. The corner of King and Princes Streets, Sandy Bay. April 2012.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The weather may have turned, but the flowers abide. Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart. March 2012.
Tuesday again. That of course means that it is time for another Q and A stolen from Sunday Stealing! This week: The April No Fools' Meme
1. What was the last clothing item that you bought?
The last time I bought clothes I actually purchased two items: a new jacket for winter and a pair of jeans. For as long as I remember, I have always worn my clothes ‘loose’, and since Christmas I have actually lost a bit of weight. These two factors have meant that my clothes are now all far too big for me to wear. Thus, there has been a significant rollover in terms of my wardrobe of late, and I expect that it will continue.
2. If you could stay one age forever, what age would you choose?
I don’t like this question much because of the implications that it holds! Physically, twenty-one is a good age. The body held up well to pressure and I looked good. The brain is another matter. There remains something to be said for experience. If somehow you could lock in twenty-one but otherwise develop intellectually and emotionally, I would take that.
3. When you say “LOL”, are you really laughing?
I would never, ever say “LOL”. I give anyone permission to flail me if you see or hear me uttering it.
4. What is the most interesting thing you’ve done in the past year?
The family jaunt to Melbourne was interesting. We crammed in the Zoo, Aquarium, Museum, shops, trains, trams, house calls, airports all in a reasonably compressed time, so there was a lot of sights and information to stimulate.
5. If you started a business, what would it be?
I would happily go into the proof-reading/ editing business if there was a guaranteed income.
6. Do your friends/ family/ co-workers know about your blog?
Some do. It’s not something I advertise, but just in case I usually keep any ‘controversial’ events or thoughts to myself...
7. How long does it take you to write an average blog post?
Somewhere between forty-five seconds and twenty-six hours.
8. How do you keep up with the blogs you follow?
Google Reader has been a stunning invention when it comes to collating, sorting and [aiding the] processing of large amounts of information.
9. What is your bedtime? Is sex always involved?
We generally head to bed when the kids do. If I have my way, sex is always involved!
10. Introvert or extrovert?
I honestly think that my nature is that of the introvert, but I do have the skills and capacity to fool most of the people most of the time.
11. What is your biggest fear?
That my capacity to fool most of the people most of the time will cease!
12. What is the best job you ever had?
There are components and elements of most jobs that I have had this I liked best, but not really one ‘best job’. Perhaps if there was some job that required teaching political theory, in the sunshine, with a sideline of proof-reading editing books across a wide spectrum of topics. Oh, with an expectation that I would have to play computer games and write brief reports back to whomever it was paying me.
13. Dog person/ cat person/ both/ neither?
If forced to chose between two, I am a cat person. But to be frank I am a neither. Animals are best enjoyed in a state of nature.
14. If you had $1,000 to spend any way you wanted, what would you do with it?
I am a bit of a sucker, so I’d probably spend it on Jen and the kids.
15. How do you "dress" your toast?
With butter and Vegemite.
16. How do you feel about snow?
Snow is good fun in moderation. I do like to leave it behind and head to the beach though...
17. What was the worst job you ever had?
This one is like the inversion of question 12. Anything that involved serving people – including those with ‘complex needs’ – and cleaning up their scraps/ shit/ urine/ vomit/ blood while working for a boss who is lazy, ignorant, rude and paid an obscenely larger amount than I is on the list. Throw in petty bullshit office politics and popularity contests while you toil away at something that ultimately will fail to change anything in any meaningful way, shape or form or have any impact whatsoever, and we have the antithesis of my ideal job.
18. What song can you not stop listening to?
There are so many good songs out there I usually manage to stop listening to one in order to listen to another. Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come is one that I can listen to over and over again though.
19. Love your name or hate it?
My full name is my name, so I have some attachment to it. I do lean on the ‘hate’ side of things though...
20. How did you choose your blog/ twitter handle?
I have developed a very complex algorithm to do this. I have a name, and I use that name when I create an online identity. Hence, my Twitter feed is Kris_McCracken. It’s a novel idea, I know.
Monday, April 09, 2012
Like that guy who played that guy who was the brother of that guy who was played by Colin Friels in classic
The Internet is a wonderful place filled with the rich and varied treasures of the world holds (as well as pictures of dogs dressed in uncomfortable outfits.) The following are some things that I've had a look at in the last week. I call this: a Compendium of Click-throughs for Monday Morning...
Sunday, April 08, 2012
I am not kidding when I say that Henry had about 3.5 kilograms of rocks and shells in his various pockets here. Hence the need to grasp strongly to avoid an indecent exposure charge...
The sun retreats behind Mount Wellington. Howrah Beach, March 2012.
Sunday Top Five, and in response to the frightfully awful 'holiday' that is Easter Saturday, I present to you My Top Five Holidays That You Should Be Embracing This April Because They Are All Far Far Superior To The Nonsense That Is Easter Saturday!