Saturday, June 23, 2012
While I would never be so bold to suggest that Ezra is any ways reactionary, but one thing that I am happy to confirm is his tendencies to somnambulism...
Winter. The view north on the East Derwent Highway, Geilston Bay. June 2012.
It's cold. Very cold.
90 North, Randall Jarrell
At home, in my flannel gown, like a bear to its floe,
I clambered to bed; up the globe's impossible sides
I sailed all night—till at last, with my black beard,
My furs and my dogs, I stood at the northern pole.
There in the childish night my companions lay frozen,
The stiff fur knocked at my starveling throat,
And I gave my great sigh: the flakes came huddling,
Were they really my end? In the darkness I turned to my rest.
—Here, the flag snaps in the glare and silence
Of the unbroken ice. I stand here,
The dogs bark, my beard is black, and I stare
At the North Pole . . .
And now what? Why, go back.
Turn as I please, my step is to the south.
The world—my world spins on this final point
Of cold and wretchedness: all lines, all winds
End in this whirlpool I at last discover.
And it is meaningless. In the child's bed
After the night's voyage, in that warm world
Where people work and suffer for the end
That crowns the pain—in that Cloud-Cuckoo-Land
I reached my North and it had meaning.
Here the actual pole of my existence,
Where all that I have done is meaningless,
Where I die or live by accident alone—
Where, living or dying, I am still alone;
Here where North, the night, the berg of death
Crowd me out of the ignorant darkness,
I see at last that all the knowledge
I wrung from the darkness—that the darkness flung me—
Is worthless as ignorance: nothing comes from nothing,
The darkness from the darkness. Pain comes from the darkness
And we call it wisdom. It is pain.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.
The only way is up (baby). Alleyway off Criterion Street, Hobart CBD. May 2012.
The premise and setting of Dalos György's The Circumcision had me expecting a wholly different book. Set in Budapest in early-1956 (that is, just before the Red Army crushed the nascent Hungarian revolution), one imagines that events will be woven into the novel.
Instead, it remains a casual account of the life of a Jewish twelve year old in 1950s Hungary. You can't even say it is a coming of age tale, rather a slight series of set pieces with an interesting and some quirky characters.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Bigmouth strikes again. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Brighton. May 2012.
Theme Thursday already?
Every now and again I think that it becomes clear that it is time for A NEW BEGINNING.
‘A NEW BEGINNING?’ you ask. ‘A NEW BEGINNING!’ I say.
For me, this
As of yesterday I have reconfigured my workstation to one in which standing has become the default option. That is, my computer set up has the monitor at standing eye level and the keyboard at around elbow height. I’ve got the desk configured in such a way that I have the opportunity to sit down if so desired. The fact that I am also working on a laptop makes it relatively easy to do computer work seated too.
My typical workday starts at 8 am, after a walk to the bus stop, a bus into the city and then a twenty-minute walk into the office. I normally try to leave by 4:15 pm, but occasionally that time is pushed out. A fair whack of that time sees me bolted to a computer or telephone, with intermittent meetings out and about (I’m usually able to walk to most of these). Most of the meetings that I attend (some interminably long) see me sitting down.
The point is: having a standing desk won't mean standing for 8 hours a day straight.
So why A NEW BEGINNING?
I have a number of reasons. When I am sitting at my desk, even with a fancy-pants ergonomic chair, I have a tendency to slump, with my back curved and shoulders forward, which closes my chest and makes my breathing more shallow. When standing my shoulders go back, which straightens the spine and opens up my chest. The hope is that it will help with my posture.
Secondly, we burn fewer calories when we’re sitting. In fact, extended sitting sessions change our body’s metabolism.
This, and a host of other studies seem to confirm an increasing evidence base to suggest that there’s a “physiology of inactivity”.
Thus, a more sedentary set up seems to drive the fact that sitting workers crash reasonably hard around mid-afternoon. For me, 2:30 pm sees me most days nearly drifting off to sleep. When I’m standing, I find that I am more alert and attentive all through the day (even if you’re more tired by day’s end).
The key message is not that ‘standing all day’ should be the norm or that ‘sitting is the enemy’. It is more about stressing that sitting all day is not good for you and that creating work environments where standing is the default option (rather than sitting).
I’m very early on in the journey, but am already finding it working.
It really does feel like A NEW BEGINNING.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
This is the tissue outside of the vascular cambium. It overlays the wood. This includes the dead tissue on the surface of the stems, along with parts of the innermost periderm and all the tissues on the outer side of the periderm. Some people like to call this the rhytidome.
I'm not fussed either way.
Dead industry? Evans Street (at the back of Hunter Street). June 2012.
Another day another Q and A, stolen again from Sunday Stealing. Yes, it is The Imaginary Meme, Part Two
21. Have you felt that life is like being on a roller coaster?
My life would be a pretty boring rollercoaster if it were! If I had to compare it to something, it’d be more akin to the task of Sisyphus.
22. Favourite year so far?
One of 2001, 2002 or 2003. They were extraordinarily easy years, in retrospect. One will never see their kind again, I fear...
23. Do you consider yourself religious?
Not in the slightest.
24. How do you dress to impress?
I might consent to having my shirt ironed.
25. Have you ever been to Connecticut?
Alas, I have not.
26. Do you eat sushi?
Yes I do. I like it very much, especially dipped in wasabi.
27. Would you smoke pot providing there was no risk or driving involved?
I have no moral or ethical opposition to cannabis.
28. What do you think of Idol Winner Phillip Phillips??
I think that his parents displayed a distinct lack of creativity when it came to naming their child. A quick look at the Wiki tells me that he is actually ‘Phillip Phillips II’. I’m not sure whether that makes me have even more contempt for his parents or a great deal of admiration for them.
29. Do you believe that animals have souls?
As an animal, I don’t think that any of us have souls.
30. Who did you last talk to? Share, if you dare.
I spoke to Nancy about my timesheet.
31. What is one thing that always annoys you?
People who pretend to know things that they don’t know.
32. Do you believe in a higher being?
No. Not unless you include taller people.
33. Have you ever fallen in love with a neighbour?
You’ve obviously never met any of my neighbours, asking a question like that!
34. Any plans for this weekend?
Not at this point (that I’m aware of).
35. Would you like to rule your country, if you could?
Not in its present form of government. The only manner in which I would consent to rule is that of ‘benevolent dictator’.
36. Do you like watching films about the nature of animals?
I do, very much.
37. What's the difference between love and/or lust?
A great deal. If one considers the work done in establishing the biological basis of ‘love’ in humans, most evolutionary psychology seems to agree that love is a mechanism that has developed to promote mutual parental support of children for an extended period. On the other hand, ‘lust’ is a powerful psychic force that produces an intense longing for an object or circumstance that fulfils a particular, more immediate, desire.
38. Do you have a soul?
As an animal, no, I don’t that that I do.
39. One best friend or many good friends?
The concept of a ‘best’ friend is one that’s always bemused me. Is it the same as ‘closest’? ‘Longest’? ‘Most faithful?’ I don’t know. I have few ‘friends’, so maybe I’m not the ‘best’ person to ask!
40. Do you believe in spontaneous combustion?
My understanding of the phenomenon is that it is not so much ‘spontaneous’ as much as ‘difficult to isolate and observe combustion’. Either way, if it does happen in humans, it is extremely unlikely to have any kind of paranormal explanation. But I am a drag in these matters.
Monday, June 18, 2012
I confess that we DID get a bandicoot to take this photo for us.
In retrospect, she did a better job than I could have possible hoped for.
A man who pretends to understand women is bad manners. For him to really to understand them is bad morals.
The Internet is a wonderful place filled with the rich and varied treasures of the world holds (if you read this, can you let me know?) 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..
- Busting a medical myth: shaved hair grows back faster and thicker. Bonus? It was written by Dr Michael Vagg!
- A really interesting long interview with Terry Eagleton. This bit in particular caught my eye, "Most people I know in academia want to get out... The neo-managerial ethos has effectively brought to an end a 200-year-old tradition of the university as a centre of critique." Depressingly, I can't help but agree with him.
- On the development of A Unified Theory of Muppet Types.Who knew Bert and Ernie represent a perfect summation of the entire dynamic of human tendencies and interaction?
- You might want to read this outstanding essay on measuring happiness. It critiques the new "science" of hedonics. "We do not need more hedonomics or utilonomics or freakonomics. We need humanomics".
- Do you like to read? Do you like to walk? If the answer to both of these is 'yes', you might like this: A Book Lover's Guide to Reading and Walking at the Same Time. I must confess that as someone who does this every day, it really is not that difficult...
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Wolves in the wood?
Bears tucked under branches?
Tigers in the trees?
Actually, the most dangerous thing you'll find here are maybe a couple of rogue geese. The ducks are all talk.
FP 1.6. East Derwent Highway, Lindisfarne. June 2012.
Sunday Top Five? As I am in a slightly misanthropic mood today, how about My Top Five Things That Used To Be Better Than They Are Now?
- Music. It just was.
- Young people. They also had better hair.
- Memories. They were closer back then.
- Manners. My God they were!
- Football. Blokes used to get stretchered off because of concussion. Now it's torn ankle ligaments.