Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 31. Day 304. Stage fright

Can I let you in on a little secret? I used to suffer  from paralysing stage fright by which I mean the abject of either having to make - or worse pay for - all the costumes required by an aspiring musical theatre buff. I got lucky on two counts - we chose a theatre company that provides the costumes (I love you Fame) and half the time we already own what is required. The thing about my boy is that his theatrical steak doesn't disappear at the stage door.  That Willy Wonka costume all his apart from the hat. Doesn't he look gorgeous? Now I'm his mother so I would think he had talent to match but I must say he owned he part. He owned all the parts required of him in the Senior Musical. Now here's the thing. As I see it, the theatre training is not just about being able to hold an audience when you are in a dramatic performance. The real benefit is having the confidence to get up and "perform" when you are not in costume in whatever role life presents. Funnily enough the louder and more outrageous the costume the more I think you can "hide" beneath it if that's your want. But it's not my boy's want. He loves and audience and well he might. He has a natural charm which genetics can not possibly explain. And he has a love of the stage. Frankly with all those gorgeous girls and not that many straight males around, why wouldn't you? I would still suffer from stage fright if I bothered to add up what 13 years of theatre training had cost me but I know it's a wise investment (especially if he remembers his mum when he makes it big).

Friday, October 30, 2015

October 30. Day 303. A Starr is born

The universe has expanded by one Starr. Well, my universe at least. I am just a tinsy, tiny bit obsessed with the work of Brisbane artist Starr. My walls are adorned with Story Bridge in Aqua, The Chrysler Building and now Celestial Eiffel Tower. I just love the vibrancy and the colour, the energy and the sense of fun of the works. They are bright and bold and cheery. When I woke up this morning the shopping list included avocados, sparkling mineral water and bread. I don't recall it saying a new piece of original art but I'm sure that was just an oversight.
I mean is it my fault the art gallery around the corner from work is the Brisbane home of Starr?
Is it my fault they are holding a Pop Up Starr show this weekend?
Can I be blamed for just calling in because the artitst is in residence?
And when all those Starrs line up it would be quite discourteous not to come away with a small something wouldn't it? I wouldn't want to be considered rude (Starry-eyed, yes. Rude no). Anyway my Starr universe now has Brisbane, New York and Paris covered. Where in the world will I go next? It's written in the Starrs.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 29. Day 302. Duck off

Some days you just want to tell the world to go take a flying duck. This is one of those days. The get up and go got up and went. Now if it would only take the general feeling of  blah with it, I'd be most appreciative. But it doesn't work like that, does it? There was a mountain of things to do but with no energy to do any of them I decided to take the fur friend for a walk, a very long walk. We ended up at the University of Queensland lakes. Watching the birds is remarkably soothing. I enjoy photographing birds even if my technique is slightly unconventional. I would hazard a guess that I am the only wildlife photographer who works with a canine photographic assistant. There may be others, but their canines probably don't perch on their shoulders. Even on days like today when it all feels a bit bleak it's hard not to have a small smile at the look on people's faces when they realise that is, in fact, a dog sitting on your shoulder. And what's more a fur friend who wants to be right by your side is the friend you need on days like today.
So it was a dog of a day but the dog made it better. Now if the blues could just duck off ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October 28. Day 301. Drip

See that big drip, the one that looks like it is just about to drop?
It's hanging on despite all the forces of nature trying to drag it down.
There's a beauty in that, a quiet determination despite the fact that it's all kind of pear shaped.
Yes, it's analogy time. Assessment fatigue is trying its hardest to make me lose my grip. But I'm hanging in there. And oddly the rain drops on flowers are part of the solution. Getting out and finding something else to focus on other than words on a page helps even though the time it takes can feel like a "waste". Raindrops on roses and all that. Yes, these are a few of m favourite things.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27. Day 300. Music to my ears

Things to make me smile on a bleak Tuesday afternoon
1) Musicals
2) New musicals
3) The decision of our State's premier theatre company to stage a musical after a very long absence
4) The fact that musical stars a huge line up of extremely talented women
5) The fact I was in the same room as those women, up close and personal and they sang
6) The fact the musical has music and lyrics by Tim Finn
7) The fact that I was in the same room as the Split Enz and Crowded House legend.
There is so much to go all fan girl about over Ladies in Black which opens at QPAC next month. Just the sneak peak today was enough to have me swoon.

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26. Day 299. The big picture

I'm clearly detail orientated and not a big picture type of person. Actually, I'm not sure that describes me at all - until you put a camera in my hand. At that point my focus (pun intended) is on the minute. I carry two lenses - a zoom and a wide angle. I'd say about 95 per cent of all the photos I take are with the zoom. If I could eat only one meal for the rest of my life it would be some pasta dish. If I could use only one lens forever it would be the zoom. This detail focus was brought home to me today at Roma Street Parklands. I took a brief walk through the gardens at lunch time today. Shortly after my arrival I noticed a woman with a similar camera also taking photos. At several places in the parklands we ended up at the same spot. I was watching her because I didn't want to accidentally walk into her shot or be seen to be copying her. Turns out there wasn't much danger of that. When she took a photo of a flower garden, I took a photo of a butterfly. She snapped the lilly pond. I focused on the dragonfly. She lined up the fountain pool and I zoomed in on the water as it spurted from one dome. Just once in the whole place did I pull back from the big close up. I rather liked the mist created by the fine sprinklers in the fern gully. I'd be really curious to look at her album from today. My bet is you wouldn't even know we were at the same place. I'm okay with that. The Parklands are a delight and her album, while very different from mine, is quite likely to be amazing. I know I would benefit from trying to get the big picture but I just don't have it in me. Either you are a big picture person or not.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

October 25. Day 298. Derby day

People riding down the street in a bath tub. A roller blader in a superhero outfir with fishnets. A bloke with a turban made of bubble wrap. Someone ski-ing down the bitumen. The truth is on just about any day in West End these things wouldn't seem out of place. But even for West End all of them at once is a little out of the ordinary. It must be Derby Day. Once a year Boundary Street is closed off and anyone on wheels or on foot is invited to ride down the road. Costumes are highly encouraged. The Kurilpa Derby kicks off the annual West End Festival and it's a parade of colourful insanity.  With so much on show - literally - it would be wrong not to take a look so Drama Teen and I joined the crowds lining the street to cheer on the parade. If I happen to find a bathtub on wheels some time between now and next year I might take part.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 24. Day 297. The end of the line

It would be wrong to suggest it was the end of the line but certainly one of those mornings where I was at the end of my rope (defined by some highly authoritative online source as "the limit of one's patience, when one is so frustrated or annoyed that one can no longer take it"). A weekend jam filled with the excitement of marking and a teen with a vast pile of Year 12 final assessment might be enough to do it. Throw in a husband heading off to Sri Lanka "for work" and the stakes rise. And then the deal breaker, the flat tyre on the way to the airport. Yee haa. The happy in this Happy Little Vegemite starts to be spread very, very thin. Given that all work and no play will give both Susan and Drama Teen dull brains, it was decided in the late afternoon to get out of the house and walk to Woolloongabba for a festival. Given that the festival is called The End of the Line Festival is seemed only fitting. OK, it's not exactly elephants in Colombo but it sure beats assessment in any form. Certainly it was just the fun and colour needed on a grey dull afternoon.

Friday, October 23, 2015

October 23. Day 296. Breathe ....

Walking is not such an unusual way to relax after a long and tiring week. In fact, I'm pretty sure health experts recommend it. Walking with a dog on your shoulder is, however, something uniquely mine. Indeed people look at the Susan and Rumple walk team with something between amusement and disbelief. One woman we walked by today was concerned the poor puppy was ill. I assured her he was fine, just fine. I probably should have added that the one she should have been concerned about was the crazy human with the living fur on her back. I consider it weight training. Besides if you are going to try wildlife photography while accompanied by a dog you are less likely to be perceived as a threat and more likely to get the shot when the canine assistant is securely perched out of the way. It works for us. And how many people get to walk and cuddle their beloved fur friend at the same time? It might not take off any time soon especially if your dog is a Great Dane but it works for us. Now all I have to remember to breathe ...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 22. Day 295. I bet you've seen a cockatoo

 Even before  comedian Austen Tayshus' 1983 Australiana routine shone a spotlight on it, you'd have to admit there is a certain schoolboy humour in the name cockatoo.
It does sound just a bit naughty, as I have to say does the cockatoo bird cry. When nature was giving out the bird sounds, the cockatoo really didn't get the pick of the bunch.
For such a beautiful looking bird, it's call really is singulalry unattractive. Honestly, it's like the person you've only ever heard on the phone or on radio and then you get a look and the voice in no way matches the appearance.
Still it was that raucous call that alerted me to the fact a small flock of cockatoos were sheltering in a tree above me as the last of the afternoon storms faded out.  And thus I saw a cockatoo. Actually I saw three of them ...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October 21. Day 294. Going to the dogs

Can someone please explain why the phrase "going to the dogs" is a negative thing? Dogs are smart and loyal. Dogs exhibit unconditional love. They provide eyes for those who can not see, companionship for the lonely, help find lost people and detect drugs and bring smiles to sick kids in hospital. With a wag of the tail, a dog can make everything feel so much better. All of which makes me think that if something is going to the dogs it just took a very distinct turn for the better. If you can ignore the bum sniffing, shoe chewing and occasional leg humping, humans could learn a lot from dogs. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October 20. Day 293. The Odd Couple

Which couple, exactly, isn't odd when you think about it? Sure Felix and Oscar of the famous Neil Simon play are a particularly strange pairing but sometimes that what makes relationships (of both the romantic and platonic type) work. There is no explaining chemistry (you can tell I didn't do all that well at high school chemistry if I have reached that conclusion). Still sometimes people you think should get along don't and others who on the surface would seem like tight shoes on a blister manage not to rub each other the wrong way at all. It either works or it doesn't. It's that simple and that complicated. Stage relationships are pretty much the same. Actors are paid to act but the chemistry between some pairs in unmistakable. This is why I have high hopes for Queensland Theatre Company's version of the play. I've seen Jason Klarwein and Tama Matheson in stage before in Design for Living and they work together. Nothing I saw in the media preview today gave me any reason to doubt it will be the same here. Plus it's an awesome set and I'm a sucker for a good set. If you need any other reason to go, throw into the mix that this will be Wesley Enoch's last production with QTC before he heads off to Sydney Theatre Company. Let's just say on this production the chemistry is right.

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19. Day 292. Purple patch

They say better late than never. Yeah right. When it comes to the jacaranda blooming I'll take never. Sure they are most attractive. And my objection in no way relates to the fact they are an introduced species. The jacaranda, as anyone is Queensland knows, represents final exams. This year the blooming was later than normal which may have lulled people (by which I mean me) into a false sense of security. But the purple rain has begun and so to has the reign of exam terror in my house. Five weeks of high school to go and it's starting to show. Right now there are criteria sheets lurking relating to assignments on the global economic reach of Coca Cola, the comparison of poverty porn in Slumdog Millionaire and Struggle Street and international law as it relates to Assisted Reproductive Technology. Part of me says "I wish we had assessment tasks as real as this when I was at school". The other part of me says "what's so wrong with rote learning for an exam for God's sake?". All parts of me say "just hang in there and it will be over soon". That's another thing we know. One big Queensland storm and all those beautiful purple blooms become a soggy brown mass.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 18. Day 291. Let's go fly a kite

I'm not sure whether to cue the violins or call the lawyers, but either way I can not recall ever having a kite or being taken kite flying as a child. Clearly it sucks to be me. Perhaps this is a case of very selective memory but I am absolutely certain that if there was kite flying it did not involve the type of kites seen at the Brisbane Kite Festival this afternoon. It is at the time of semester where it is very possible for most of my household to spend the weekend buried in assessment. But in the interests of trying to maintain some degree of sanity, I ordered everyone into the car after lunch and we headed out. First stop was the kite festival where the array of flying machines on strings was something to behold. Organisers would have been delighted with the conditions the wind gods put on for the day.The Murrarie Recreation Ground was alive with families both watching and having a go. Having taken in the festival we piled back into the car and headed to Kedron Brook to indulge the canine family member in a walk and a swim. And then it was home to the inevitable. Sure a couple of hours was lost but clearer heads doubtless led ti greater efficiency - well that's my story and I'm sticking to it (although I fully admit my head might be in the clouds).

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October 17. Day 290. Dress code

 The whole idea of a dress code is to make life easier. I admit, some are more straight forward than others. Black tie everyone understands. But one man's casual is another man's beachwear. And just how smart is smart casual? Still blue jeans and a white T shirt should be straight forward enough as a code. But when it was decided that would be the dress for the cousin photo you'd swear in some corners it was a Code Blue or hospital emergency. Such a code was, according to which of the dissenting voices you listened to, stupid,  unreasonable or a unprecedented attack on personal style and individuality. Still with a little bit of reasoning, sweet taking, guilt tripping, bribery or appeals to the greater good every one of the kids eventually stepped up to the mark and arrived  at the photo shoot dressed and ready to go. And despite all the misgivings it has to be said things seemed to go pretty well (by which I mean more smoothly than previous attempts to get a grandchild photo for Grandma). But the real fun started after the professional photographer had left. With a whole parkland at their disposal the jeans and t shirt clad brigade decided to find that individuality and style not restricted by clothing. There was much craziness and laughter and in the unlikely event that none of the professional photos turn out there's still a fine collection of memories for the day. Anyway there has to be far worse ways to kill a couple of hours on a Saturday than mucking around in the park with your cousins even if you have to wear blue jeans and a white T shirt while doing it.