Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21. Day 294. Shining light

Today's shining light good neighbour award goes to, drum roll please, me.
Okay, I invented the awards and judged them and was the only entry (possibly because I didn't actually open up entries to anyone else) but it's a voting system that has worked in many a foreign land and in any case  I stand by the results. And as there is no prize involved chances of anyone actually fighting me for it are rather slim, Besides under the terms I just invented no correspondence will be entered into.
Anyway to the citation (which I wrote) Susan takes out the good neighbour award for taking her neighbour bra shopping. I know, right. Big gold star and elephant stamp right there. Bra shopping, the most humiliating experience known to man (not, I suspect, that many men do it but still). I don't think I have yet recovered from the experience of being taken into David Jones at that sensitive age and being "fitted" for my first bra by a very stern looking bra specialist. I thought my job today was to be companion and taxi driver and hand over the fitting room business to a lady much more experienced in the fitting of 87-year-old women than I. My plan was to loiter outside in the undies department in that bored time honoured way husbands do while clothes shopping. But Margaret thought my opinion on the Size 20 D bras was necessary so into the change room I ventured. Let's just leave it at that. But you must give Margaret points for being a good sport. When I jokingly suggested she might want one of the skimpy, frilly numbers she countered "well, at least I know I won't need any padding ...."

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20. Day 292. A birdy with a yellow bill

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window sill 
Cocked his shining eye and said: 
“Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!” ...
Actually that didn't happen and not just because the birdies around here aren't great conversationalists. It's more that if they are planning on making housecalls they bypass my abode and head next door. All the feathered friends around here know Margaret's place is where you go for mince. It's a bit like a McDrive through. They arrive at the window and she dispenses their orders. Rumple prefers to eat in rather than take away. He runs through the front door and jumps on Margaret's lap to get his meal. I'm pretty sure the people at Coles must think she has an unusual passion for spag bol or beef pies given the extraordinary amount of mince one octogenarian goes through in a week, every week. Still it's an arrangement that seems to suit all of them and given Margaret is normally up and at that window at 4am (or so she tells me. I am never in a position to independently verify that information) there's no chance the birdies with the yellow bills will have to chastise her for sleeping in.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19. Day 292. I'm on fire

I love a sunburnt country. A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
 How often quoted. What a beautiful, romantic notion of the country. It's nice that Dorothea Mackellar included some of the less lovely aspects of Australia - such as the droughts and flooding rains. What a shame that isn't even the worst of it (and here I'm not even talking about the killer reptiles, aquatic creatures or arachnids)
It's the cyclones, thunder storms and bushfires that have the
potential to devastate, of which I speak (how I am not on the pay roll of the Australian Tourist Commission with such a glowing assessment of the country I will never know).
In any event, summer is party season in this part of the world but we can't let that be an excuse to let down our guard and not be ready for the other things that can strike at this time of year. This was the thought behind the Emergency Ready Community Event at South Bank today. It was a timely reminder to get the emergency kit, the non perishable foods, the batteries and the insurance ready and to have an evacuation plan sorted. You will
almost certainly never need it but it could be a lifesaver - literally - in a disaster. The day concentrated on advice and reminders but there were also information stalls, demonstrations (I was particularly taken by the bush fire simulation) and a live ABC Radio broadcast.
There was also a strong emphasis on fun children's entertainment because
1) It's important to remember who we are doing this for and
2) Generational change of attitudes comes from working with the kids
Also it made for a great family day out in the sun. Now where did I out those insurance documents, precious photos, batteries, candles ....?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18. Day 291. Neon lights

For a short while this afternoon I thought I was in the Underground Nightclub circa 1983. It is entirely possible my mind wouldo also have been transported back to a gymnasium in the Olivia Newton John Let's Get Physical period  but I never entered a gym in the days of leg warmers and flouro tights for safety reasons. But in any event I felt over-dressed or under dressed or like the only person who didn't see the fancy dress clause on the party invitation. It was a rare Saturday when I had to GO to work, as in go into the office. Many a Saturday and Sunday I am glued to a bundle of marking or a computer screen but normally I am doing so in the privacy of my own home in my PJs or sports gear. But today I was invited to be part of a panel discussion in front of a visiting Indian media delegation and while it was a relatively informal affair I rather suspected culturally and in every other way my PJs - even the good ones - might have been deemed inappropriate. So I did the whole work clothes, hair and make-up thing and went to work. The rest of the city looked far more laid back. The closer I walked to the Goodwill Bridge, the more it appeared like a giant box of highlighter pens had leaked over everyone and everything. In the end, I just had to ask. Turns out these were competitors turning up for the anti depression charity Beyond Blue fundraising twilight run. Because every charity event needs a theme, this one was the Neon Run and the participants were well and truly getting into the spirit of it. And good for them. Shining the light on depression - even if it looks like a bright disco light - has to be a good thing. For too much of the time it's an issue hidden in the shadows. I didn't stick around to see how all those colours looked with a big dose of sweat thrown in but even before the race was run I consider them all winners.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17. Day 290. Sun sets over another week

"Today I saw a red and yellow sunset and thought, how insignificant I am! Of course, I thought that yesterday too, and it rained."
I've said it before and I'll probably say it again. I love this Woody Allen quote. But some times you see a red and yellow sunset with a bit of purple and silver and grey thrown in and you can't help but be inspired. And that's what happened today and that's why today's image is a sunset. And if you believe that ... The truth is I was at one of those junctions. One of those places where you are forced to choose one of the forks in the road and your future destiny depends on it. Or not. I had two options to round off the week. A walk with the dog when the light was still perfect for photography or a nap and take what I could get when I awoke. Let's just say it had been a long, long exhausting week and there was plenty of paperwork to complete before actual bedtime. So I took option two and the sunset gods smiled on me. A most satisfying rest and perfectly acceptable images. Score  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16. Day 289. Taken for a ride

Sure exercising your brain makes you smarter but too much of it in one session and you start feeling brain dead. So it was this afternoon. Too much staring at the screen watching the cursor flash and not move anywhere near as fast as one would like is a sure fire sign it is time to back off for a bit. Fresh air, sunshine and exercise is clearly required. Well two out of three ain't bad. The fur friend and I had barely set out on the walk when we ran into Jason So in his Goodwill Bike Co electric tricycle. The sign that you paid only what you thought the trip was worth, his big smile and the fact that he promised to welcome both Rumple and myself on board convinced me to be taken for a ride. During the journey, he waved at passers by and we chatted. Turns out that Jason completed his high schooling at State High studied finance at QUT. Two things stuck out about the university years
1) he learned to hate the walk across the Goodwill Bridge on hot summer's days and wished there was an easier way
2) Entrepreneurship was the subject at university that appealed to him the most.
So he combined the two, imported the electric tricycle and started the the Goodwill Bike Co business. As the bike is only powered by the pedals 30 per cent of the time, he can devote most of his energy to chatting and ensuring the passengers have an enjoyable ride. Clearly it's a job he is well suited to. At the end of the ride I handed over a crisp $20 and I think we both walked away happy with the deal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15. Day 288. Cop this!

 It could be worse. A lot worse. I whinge a lot about things such as
1) Marking
2) Form filling and administrivia
3) Marking
4) Staff meetings
5) Marking
6) Students oh and marking
The take-home message could easily be that I hate my job. Some days this comes close to the truth. Most days it does not, at all.
 Teaching some of the best and brightest journalism students in the country is absolutely not all bad. Today was one of those days I consider better than most. Today I was privileged to accompany about 100 students to a press conference at City Hall. This was a real life assessment piece at its best. The students were in the same forum as other media from across the city hearing the latest on preparations for the G20 in our city next month. Addressing the forum were
 Bernadette Welch Head of Operations in the G20 Taskforce in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Terry Crane Executive Director G20 State Coordination Unit in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Peter Rule Executive Manager and G20 Coordinator, Brisbane City Council and Assistant Commissioner Katarina Carroll G20 Group Queensland Police Service.
I might not feel the same when I get to marking the pieces but witnessing the event itself was most satisfying.