Saturday, May 19, 2012
The oddest thing about Henry's insistence to get out and about among these rocks is the fact that he refused to wear his shoes to do so.
People who find breastfeeding offensive are idiots.
Hope is the thing..., Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Being Dead by Jim Crace really is unlike any book I have read before. It begins with a straightforward, albeit shocking, image; the bodies of a middle-aged couple lying in the dunes of the seacoast where they met as students. A frenzied stranger has battered them to death them with a chunk of granite for no reason other than the few valuables they have with them. Yet this is no murder mystery. Less about murder and more about death, to be more precise.
The reader is than taken on a [very] graphic account of what happens as their corpses lie undiscovered and rotting for a week. We learn of the effects of putrefaction, the role of crabs, flies, and gulls in processing decaying organic matter. The narrative then abruptly shifts backward to the [again, incredibly graphic] moment of their deaths. It’s fair to say that the opening third of the book is not for the faint hearted.
The narrative then alternates between the few hours shared between the couple preceding the murder; thirty years earlier and the events of their meeting and getting together; a continuing account of their decaying bodies; and events in the life of their only daughter in the week following their deaths. Each lens is an intimate view of life (and death). The graphic descriptions suddenly feel more appropriate and poignant, and less shocking. Crace has done exceptionally well to achieve this feat.
The key message seems to me to be that death is a natural part of life. Whether we are aware of it or not, it simply is. It might seem obvious or trite a concept, but it’s Crace avoids this with his brutally honest account of the lives and deaths of two people, and the immediate effect on their distant and remote daughter.
I really like this book, and respect its achievement. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic, but they are all fundamentally human. There is something made more touching of their dysfunctional relationships that is highlighted by the central theme of death (and the contrasting challenge of life). It’s not for everyone (particularly the squeamish), but if you’re up for a challenge, you could do much worse than read this book.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Theme Thursday again and the place is like a ZOO. Well, if you knew where I worked, 'madhouse' would be inappropriate (if somewhat more precise).
I've been busy. So very busy.
I apologise. Not good enough, I know.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Show caution, in the name of love... The corner of St Georges Terrace and Sandy Bay Road. May 2012.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
We had our first parent-teacher meeting with Henry's Prep teacher yesterday evening, and were delighted with the news that the lad is doing very well in all areas! Of course, like his father, the one area that he perhaps might need to work on a little bit is understanding the correct time and place for 'a joke'.
Well done Henry!
Spindly dongers (at least that's what Henry calls them) on trees. Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart. April 2012.
In the absence of another reader contribution (reader?), I am back to stealing from Sunday Stealing this week. Thus, I present to you Part Two of the Semi Charmed Meme
21. A better name for me would be: something German. Jürgen Grüßer or some such.
22. I have a hard time understanding: why people don’t ask more questions.
23. If I ever go back to school, I’d: enjoy myself more than the first few runs at it.
24. You know I like you if: you see me again.
25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: my lovely wife and children.
26. If I could bring back a TV show for a reunion it would be: Deadwood.
27. Take my advice, never: think that merit on its own will get you anywhere.
28. My ideal breakfast is: porridge with fresh raspberries.
29. A song I love, but do not own is: I honestly cannot think of one. If I ‘love’ a song, I must possess it!
30. If you visit my hometown, I'd suggest: keeping your preconceptions and prejudices to yourself and just try to enjoy yourself.
31. If I could meet a couple of my blog buddies, I'd include: anyone who wanted to be included!
32. Why won’t people: stop being so bloody selfish all the time?
33. If you spend the night at my house: I expect you to be very quiet after 8 pm.
34. I’d stop everything for: a chance of peace and quiet.
35. The world could do without: people always hatin’ on each other.
36. The last time I got drunk I: couldn’t get up the stairs.
37. My favourite blonde is: a brunette!
38. Paper clips are more useful than: spinal meningitis.
39. If I do anything well, it’s: likely to go by unremarked upon.
40. And by the way: I have a headache and am in a bit of a shitty mood, so the answers might be skewed a little bit.
Monday, May 14, 2012
It really wasn't that long ago that we were decked out in singlets and hanging out at the beach.
It's all snow on the mountain and frigid southerlies at the moment. Beanie weather, with no space for singlets (unless it's underneath a shirt, jacket and raincoat).
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
Hen and Jen search for treasure. Little Howrah Beach. March 2012.
The Internet is a wonderful place filled with the rich and varied treasures of the world holds (as well as a refuge for many, many sad and lonely people.) 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, May 13, 2012
Discussion in class, which means letting twenty young blockheads and two cocky neurotics discuss something that neither their teacher nor they know.
Nymphéas (avec mes excuses à Monet). Royal Botanical Gardens, Hobart. April 2012.
Today's Sunday Top Five is a new one for me, but probably replicated fourteen thousand times on teh Internets. Yes, it is My Top Five 'Secret' Health And Lifestyle Tips To Reaching My Ideal Weight!
Back story, Jen had been complaining for a while that it was hard finding the time to do regular exercise with two small kids always hanging about (well, exercise beyond chasing and punishing two small kids that are always hanging about). So, last Christmas, Santa, his elves, Henry, Ezra and I determined that a Wii Fit package might go some way to filling the gap. On Christmas morning, Jen's little eyes lit up when she saw the balance board and realised that we had all gone some way to making her dreams of an international modelling career come true. If you're not familiar with the Wii Fit, it gets you to plug in your relevant details (name, age, height et cetera, and then measures your weight and balance and gives you an idea on areas of improvement, you set your goals and it offers you plenty of possible exercises and yoga positions to help reach it.
It came as little surprise to see Jen given a pretty decent rating. It looked like fun, so we all ended up plugging in our own details into our own mini-Mii (your own cartoon representation of the self), and took our own measurements. Much to my dismay, as soon as I stepped on the electronic scales went up, and up, and up and up and up again until they broke that nice warm orange section marked 'IDEAL' and entered into the disturbing red territory marked 'OVERWEIGHT'. Suffice to say, I didn't feel much like partaking in a large Christmas dinner (nor our annual tradition of polishing off the huge trough of chocolate mousse I'd prepared).
Okay then, the computer told me a few home truths, so I set about getting that bar back down out of the red and smack bang on ideal. Being a scientific man, I set about researching all manner of materials to determine if the harsh judgement of this Japanese computer was on the money. Sadly, it was. The challenge was to shed 23.5 kilograms and preserve my health, confidence and (most of all) my dignity in the face of the cold logic of the digital brain.
Thus, we get to today's list, My Top Five 'Secret' Health And Lifestyle Tips To Reaching My Ideal Weight!
For me, the real trick was to stop and honestly assess where I was at. If you had of asked me in December how I was travelling,I would have admitted that I could lose five or so kilos, I never would have guessed it was nearer 25! Yet the bulk of the weight was gone in three and a half months with very little needing to change. In terms of food choices, I have switched from full cream to light milk, but that is really about it. The rest has been lowering the volume in and lifting the amount of energy I expend.
At the very least, I'm doing better at keeping up with Henry!