Saturday, 31 January 2004
That little wooden boat.
This is one of my favourite images
. I have it on a postcard which I have kept with me on my travels, along with a few other things like my wooden rainbow i've had forever, and a ring my mum gave me on the proviso that i give it back to her at another time.
I just spoke with Michelle, from Adanac Street, who has also been "biting on the shit sandwich of life" lately. She mentioned that she knows several people, herself included, who are in a period of enforced transition at the moment. Is it something in the air? The universe? What's trying to tell me something?
I mentioned a few entries ago that I should have been more wary of counting all my Vankie chickens before they hatched. If I was to wear my 'positivity' hat, having the plan go awry in such a spectacular manner has been nothing if not refreshing. Some new friends have commented that I seem overwhelmingly positive sometimes, almost to the point of denial. I have stopped doing that now. Now I slip on my 'negativity' hat from time to time too, to look at what I really hold in my hands.
If I refer to vater's list of happiness things below, I feel at the moment like I have number 5, and probably more of number 2 than I can see in front of me... but the others?
Am I sobbing? No. Am I about to dashed against Mt. Fuji? Probably not. Am I happy?
I wonder if there are any Bellini's Madonnas at Ikea... there is one for eighty bucks here
Thursday, 29 January 2004
Our heavenly father.
Dad wrote this for me after reading about my epicurean tendencies. I have edited some bits out of his original email.
(Origin: epicurus-adapted Alain de Botton
Herewith a recipe for happiness...
- a hut
- friends but not too many so you dont have time for self [ed: that's dad's ]
- to avoid superiors, patronisation, infighting and preferably competition
- a garden allotment
- thought (and the means to write)
- a reincarnation of Bellini's Madonna whose melancholy expression would belie a dry sense of humour and spontaneity and who would dress in man-made fibres from the racks of modest department stores
De Botton says '...happiness may be difficult to obtain. The obstacles are not primarily financial.'
Is everyone getting this?
What a guy.
Well, dinner was good. Not too much food, but just enough. Although the dessert buffet was pushing the limits, thanks to Le petit ecolier bikkies!
I just have to make a little note, mainly for Ashby - you know who you are - that a REAL LIFE Texan thought my guacca was tasty. And she should know, she says.
Here's the recipe I used last night, although it's always a teeny bit different, just to keep tasters on their toes...
5 perfect avocadoes
juice of 2 juicy lemons
a little freshly ground S+P to taste
mash it all together
add a teeny bit of finely chopped spanish onion
add stacks of chopped coriander (or cilantro for the Americans)
stir all together
I like to serve it with great corn chips, or carrot sticks - which are still in the fridge this morning... ooops.
Wednesday, 28 January 2004
What do you know?? Unashamedly ripped off from caterina.net
, I took a Tell us about your ethical philosophy
questionnaire, and this is is a list of the philosophers that I appear to align myself to in my exploration of morality...
2. Jeremy Bentham (91%)
3. John Stuart Mill (85%)
4. Thomas Hobbes (80%)
5. Jean-Paul Sartre (77%)
6. Nel Noddings (74%)
7. Ayn Rand (71%)
8. Cynics (69%)
9. Spinoza (64%)
11. Kant (59%)
12. Nietzsche (59%)
13. Stoics (56%)
14. David Hume (54%)
15. Prescriptivism (52%)
16. Aquinas (49%)
17. Ockham (32%)
18. St. Augustine (22%)
19. Plato (15%)
It would appear that for me, "pleasure is the ultimate moral end".
I don't mind the sound of that!
Now I sit ready to get going on a big to do list for work. You may ask why am I blogging? A good question.
I wanted to note that I feel happier today than I have for a while. I have a chamomile tea - it's ok, i've had a coffee already - i'm listening to my new favourite album "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
" by PJ Harvey, which sweetly reminds me of another time with the girls at Leader St, and a drive I took with nice American lady on Whidbey Island before the shit hit the fan.
I am going to make pesto today, and have some friends over for dinner tonight.
I always like doing that. Something about feeding people is good for the soul. I might make a salad that chef Paul prepared for me one day... feta, olives, roasted red capsicum and lettuce... that's all... and all sloshed with some great olive oil.
Tuesday, 27 January 2004
Here I sit, getting more and more frustrated at the stupid (AOL) connection I took up when I got my new computer.
I figured it would only be temporary, so i wouldn't have to deal with sh*t for too long.
The fu*king connection keeps dropping out, I get more fu*king junk mail and junk IMs from AOL than anyone else, and it is SLOW as a wet week.
2.3 KBP fu*king S? Not the best for a mobile internet professional.
Monday, 26 January 2004
The Flag Prayer.
This prayer was delivered by Archbishop Peter Hollingworth at the Australian National Flag Day ceremony, Brisbane, 3 September 2000:
"Almighty and most merciful God,
the sovereign lord of all nations;
we give you thanks for this our flag,
the symbol of our nationhood,
which we raise this day.
We thank you for the abundant blessings
you have bestowed upon us,
for our heritage expressed in three crosses
of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick,
for the Southern Cross set in azure skies,
the symbol of the land where we live today,
and for the Federal star,
the symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Finally we give thanks for the blessings of cultural diversity,
For though we are many people, yet we are one nation,
With one destiny under your good providence,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Happy Australia Day!
For all the ex-pats out there, the BBC suggests some barbeque basics
that we should all know when paying homage to the homeland.
I was also pleased to see that the federal government has a special little site
to tell us what we should be doing on this rather.. um... innocuous holiday. Some of my American friends like their holidays so much I struggled to fill them in on just why we have Australia Day, apart from an excuse for some fireworks.
There is a fancy food magazine called Gastronomica
, where there is an article in the Fall 2003 issue entitled "Vegemite as a Marker of National Identity". This argued that studies have shown Vegemite is just about the only foodstuff which clearly indicates a country of origin. I wish I could point you to the article online, but of course, they want you to buy their fancy magazine, so it doesn't seem to be available.
Advance Australia Fair!
Saturday, 24 January 2004
I went with nice American lady to see some theatre last night. It was very good. It reminded me of some of the smaller shows I saw in Adelaide at venues like the Bakehouse Theatre.
It was a series of 3 parts called "Bash", put on by the very cool, and super independent New City Theater. Each part was about a supposedly normal person who had committed murder in spontaneous circumstances: a father who smothered his baby to keep his job, a mormon jock who bashed a fag in Central Park, and a woman who electrocuted her son for cold revenge against his father, who had been her teacher in high school.
The theater group has been around for about 20 years, and they put on lots of interesting plays, having commissioned work from a variety of American playwrights.
I must admit it took me a while to stop thinking that the actors were pretending to do an American accent. I kept waiting for their real accent to shine through... silly.
I'd like to see more of their stuff.
Friday, 23 January 2004
Virtually in a team.
As I sit down to write with my freshly brewed cup of Red Apple coffee with the music I want to hear playing in the background, I realise that working in isolation with a dispersed team isn't all that bad.
Ludi is based in Vancouver, and we have developers in New York, a little hamlet in the north of England, and now in Seattle.
There are certainly challenges to working in a distributed team, many of which I touched on when I began my MA in Virtual Communication out of RMIT in Melbourne. This course came to be as a result of many, many corporates in the world grappling with issues of trust, motivation and competence in their global teams.
For an individual working in a small team of less that ten, presumably the issues are easier to manage... personally, I feel a need to rely more heavily on personal reporting and accountability, and we have a number of tools in place (Phone, wiki, blog, email, IMs) to stay in touch with each other.
Apart from all the technological tools which certainly aid my endeavours, I find it very simple to detach myself from those when I think about the effectiveness of my work. I can see it terms of offline endeavour. Am I motivated? Do I like my team mates? Do I enjoy the work? Yes, yes and yes.
To me this is more important than cables and the internet. If you want to work, it doesn't matter where you are.
Wednesday, 21 January 2004
We're doing good, aren't we?
I wanted to see George W's State of the Union address, and BOY! it's just as I imagined.
I was looking for the dude at the front holding the "Applause" sign, as I listened patiently for 54 minutes, which included 70 applause-related interruptions.
Would you believe the phrase "personal retirement account" generated a standing ovation? (I know there's been a bit of trouble with misappropriation and things, but i mean... really!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the update on America's sheer strength, and was informed that 45 out of 55 senior Iraqi officials have been either captured or killed (hmm.. which one?) by the US military; that Saddam was found in a hole, and is now in a prison cell (hmm... where?). Combine that with a shot of rent-a-military-crowd looking distinctly lacklustre, hardly even clapping at the obvious moments... It was nice to hear that "America won't be initmidated by thugs and assassins".
George skipped from strength to healthcare to (gay... sssh) marriage, to drugs in schools, to "unleashing the compassion of america's religious institutions"... what a ride!
He is a bit concerned about the crumbling "Defensive Marriage Act", signed by Clinton in '96, which didn't leave much room for same-sex marriage. Now he has to contend with "activist judges forcing their arbitrary will on the people". Luckily, he can rely on the nation to defend the sanctity of marriage... this opinion got a few people off their patooties.
The upshot is: God is behind these historic times, not the US Government. He is watching over everyone, so I guess that means it doesn't really matter if things go wrong.
All that said, i'm very pleased to hear that "America's the land of the second chance".
Sunday, 18 January 2004
"The whole panorama is there before us
," said rover science- team member Dr. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. "It's a great opening to the next stage of our mission."
Saturday, 17 January 2004
Prune in January?
In Australia, there's a rule: prune in June. Your roses that is.
I was walking around the 'burbs of Seattle - you know... getting to know the place... it's nice - and noticed that these Seattelite people don't really take care of their roses. I thought for a second I could get a bit of dosh on the side by selling my pruning services. The only capital outlay would be a good pair of secateurs and some gloves.
I popped over to nice American lady's, who also lives in the Capitol Hill area where I am, and noticed that she and her roomies have also neglected their rose bushes. Hips all over the place! What could I do but offer to indulge my own pruning needs?
It gives me a great deal of pleasure to prune roses... to examine the bush, work out the current shape, and think through what it may be transformed into after a few snips here and there. I must admit, these particular bushes were in need of a fairly radical new hairstyle, so I did prune heavily... but roses are generally as hardy as hell, so I don't doubt they will spring back.
The exercise also made me remember my grandpa, who taught me how to prune. He always had beautiful roses growing, often cut and inside the house too. I also thought about my former home in the Adelaide Hills, where there were about 25 rose bushes of various sizes and colours. It took me a weekend in June to prune all of those puppies...
Who knows if it's OK to prune in January, or whether the bushes will enjoy their cut... Perhaps it was more for me than them. I didn't quite get to all of them today either, so I will need to return to finish the job.
I look forward to this.
Friday, 16 January 2004
Just do the next thing.
I have to say thank you to Marg for that little pearl of wisdom. Many a time in my life has she stepped to the fore with this piece of advice for her teary daughter.
I often find that when confronted with a dark abyss of choice (or enforced lack thereof) that I freeze and sit quietly in the dark, waiting for a light to appear, whether it be from my own mind, or from an influence around me.
So, this fabled "next thing" helps me to get up, and dust myself off, and begin the process to moving forward out of the weird 'analysis paralysis' that every one of us gets caught up in from time to time.
Am I feeling better? No, not quite. But I have done the next thing. It may not seem important to you, dear reader, but for me, it is about reconnecting with some of the dream which I had before January 11. I was all set to fall into an unbelievably satisfying situation, much of which was due to me being able to work with the stupendous Ludicorp. Having that wrenched from my grasp (can you tell i'm enjoying a little dramatic language?), I panicked.
The next thing in this case was not to get caught up in the aforementioned abyss of "Where the hell am I going to live?", but rather to focus on something I enjoy immensly, which is my work. So, I procured a laptop today, and am gradually getting myself acquainted with all that I have missed.
You may think this is a materialistic next thing, but if i've realised anything over the past few months it is that I love what I do, and that I derive a part of my identity from my work, and dammit, they can't take THAT away from me!
I'll worry about the whole living situation later.
Wednesday, 14 January 2004
Well, some people say that a blog is just an outpouring of angst. I agree.
Where do I start telling you, dear reader, about what the hell has been happening since January 4? It has probably been one of the hardest times I have yet experienced in my 31 years, and I don't appear to be at the stage where my wounds can be licked just yet, because new ones keep opening, and I am unable to buy enough bandaids.
I (foolishly) asked that this journey i'm on should be about testing myself: seeing how I cope under stress. Unfortunately, I was not specific about just how
i'd like this to happen, and it would appear that it's been determined that I should be popped into a little wooden dinghy and thrust out to a stormy sea with 50 foot waves crashing around me, and no land in sight.
In my mind, I had a sweet little picture that upon my return from a wonderful Christmas holiday with 4/5 of my family that I would sail through the US/Canada border and return to my home and work and everything would be schweet after spending some time with a nice American lady in Seattle. This particular cool-as-a-cucumber-in-official-law-type-crisis lady was indeed cool when the nice Canadian border lady said to me "I'd prefer it if you returned to the US, and had your friends in Vancouver bring your things to you there". I said "OK" as she went to answer a phone call. Nice American lady said "Why don't you just ask if you can go to Vancouver?". So I asked, and was granted 24 hours in which to uproot for god knows how long.
I spent a harried 24 hours in Vankie, grieving with my dear roomies who appeared to be just as shocked and angry as I was. Debra, the Super Duper Unitarian Minister was kind enough to drop everything and come over to give me a hug on the morning of the 12th, when all I seemed capable of was nothing, and in my pyjamas at that. She told me of how she had been wracking her brain to try to see how she might help, and she went as far as to suggest offering me sanctuary in her church. This made me laugh. A lot.
I packed up all my belongings in my little room on Adanac street. Tears were shed. I took off in my mid-size rent-a-car one way for the US of A, hoping like hell that I would actually be able to get in.
I went to the border at Douglas, to return my face to the Canadians, who had warned me that if I didn't do this, a warrant would be issued for my arrest. I thought I should make that meeting. The funny thing was, after an informal chat
with the customs officer outside the building where he was waiting to watch me 'go south', I found myself giving him a cheery wave as I drove off in mid-size rental. What the hell is that???
The American border man (who I actually recognised from a previous visit) was nice enough.
"Put your mid-size rental in park, and open up your trunk", he said.
His dopey sidekick asked "What's in the boxes?".
"Oh, books..." (And my fucking life
for fuck's sake!) I was to be visiting Seattle for 2 weeks, not returning to Australia any time soon, and my next international destination was the UK. I must have appeared to be quite the jetsetter, thanks to my mid-size rental.
My new border acquaintance said "Have a nice week," as I pulled away on to the I5.
I am in Seattle now, and have landed in an apartment which is not being used. It has been lovely that some of my new friends here have rallied around me to help. They probably don't realise how much this means, and how much I appreciate it. I find myself repeating that over and over, and it's probably starting to lose some potency... but anyway... the question is: WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO NOW?
I am beginning to understand warnings like don't count your chickens before they hatch
. I received some warning (albeit from an incredibly dodgy source) which suggested I be on the lookout and I just didn't prepare for it.
I wrote this on December 18:
It's funny. All my stars, runes and numerological readings have been indicating that the next few weeks will be a period of intense transition , and that something may come to a standstill. It's a little unclear what will eventuate on my return to this fair land, but overall I have a very good feeling about it.
So now it seems I must re-evaluate everything I had planned. And I mean everything
Jetson has had exploratory surgery and a nasty lump and a bit of his intestine removed. He appears to be fine, if somewhat frustrated by the silly collar he has to wear to stop him licking his wounds.
There is a picture of him here
, sent by my wonderful nurse sister.
Sunday, 4 January 2004
Whirlwind entry from Glasgow, the land of thick Scots accents and grey skies. Spent an amazing day in the gorgeous highlands yesterday, to return to the news that one of my babies back home (a black cat named Jetson) is having a cancer scare. Luckily I was in the highlands with my veterinary mate Lizzie, who gave me some advice about what to do.
A bit hard to make a decision about what to do from all the way over here though!
Poor little baby.