Saturday, March 31, 2018

March 31. Day 90. Going swimmingly

It has been a very long time since I've had a family holiday on the Gold Coast. I can't put an exact date on it but I can put an exact date on the turning point - April 1, 2013. That was the day Rumple came into my life and the Sunshine Coast and its kilometre after kilometre of dog off leash beaches became my holiday destination of choice. Winkle only cemented the deal. I decided to break this arrangement only because I wanted to spend Easter and my birthday with my family and this is where I understood they would be. I was half right. My brother was in Commonwealth Games camp but in Brisbane and in lock down. Given he was in lock down the destination was probably irrelevant. The rest of the family was at the Gold Coast.
So we went to the Gold Coast and I have spent more time at Palm Beach than at any other time in my life (actually, I don't think I've ever spent any time at Palm Beach but I digress...). The Gold Coast Council "kindly" devotes only three kilometres of dog off leash beach at Southport, Tallebudgera and Palm Beach. Don't get me wrong, Palm Beach is fine and I should be grateful for small mercies but it's not exactly proportionate. Dogs are people too. They deserve more consideration. Not that my dogs cared.
They were so, so excited. My dogs love the beach.
I love taking the dogs to the beach so it's all going swimmingly here.

Friday, March 30, 2018

March 30. Day 89. A Good Friday

It was eerily deserted and quiet when the dogs and I hit the dog beach just after sunrise. The only thing seemingly present in any numbers were the birds and for reasons best known to them they were all huddled really closely together on two branches.
Fast forward a few hours to the same beach and the situation couldn't have been more different.
Now the tide was out, the clouds had gone, the carpark was full and people were everywhere. Across the Currumbin estuary from the dog beach we could see huge numbers of board riders gathering. Someone gave the signal and everyone paddled out slowly, in single file and with a great deal of purpose. From where we stood it was had to know exactly what the purpose was. I thought it was possibly a large circle. It may have been but according to Google it was The Good Friday Paddle Out and the form was most likely a cross. Not that most people or canines in my group seemed to care. The dogs  just wanted to run and swim and my niece and her boyfriend had eyes only for each other. Everyone was happy. A good Good Friday indeed.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29. Day 88. Thank God it's Thursday

I feel like I've earned this four day break. It's been a long couple of weeks.
Normally Thursdays are a pupil-free day where I can mostly work from home.
Not today. a tutorial and two meetings before I could hit the road to the beach.
Potentially that could have been really dangerous.
The Easter long weekend traffic is notoriously bad. we dodged a bullet.
It wasn't a perfect trip but it wasn't dreadful and when we arrived and opened to doors to the canal-front holiday home and saw the water the stress melted away.
By the time the dogs started sprinting on the sand I knew my decision to brave the traffic was a good one.
It may be only a short break but I intend to make the most of every second of it, come rain or shine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 28. Day 87. Day of the dragon

Dragons are fierce. All the scale and fire breathing business. Dragonflies are predators in the insect world but to humans they represent zero threat. They have all of the beauty and none of the bad breath. They are a bit toothless tiger really. I was checking out the dragon flies in the city Botanic gardens today just after chatting to another "toothless tiger". The Press Council was holding an adjudication session in Brisbane today at QUT's Garden Points Campus. As a result, we were invited to go and have a chat over lunch. One of the accusations levelled against the council is that the only "punishment" it can hand out to media who behave badly is the demand of a written apology. It might seem a little weak but as the council members point out the fight the media organisations put up to clear their names suggests there is bite in the sanctions. No-one want to admit in writing they got it wrong. I find it all very interesting. The thing about ethics is that it is never black and white. It really can be a case of two sides to every story and speaking to the council members showed just how difficult some of the adjudications can be.
It made me think I should apply for a position next time a vacancy comes up.
It sounds like a challenge but hugely interesting and fun in its own way. In short, it sounds like my cup of tea.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March 27. Day 86. Starry, starry night

The Powerhouse is one awesome venue. 
In less educated times it would have been demolished or gentrified. 
But while it has been re purposed as a performing arts venue its history has been retained and is never far from view. I like that.
My visit to the Powerhouse tonight was to discuss not witness theatre. It was my second meeting as part of the Matilda Awards judging committee. 
Generally speaking, I'd rather stab myself in the eye than attend a meeting. 
These meetings are a cut above. I really love talking theatre with theatre lovers. 
We don't always agree - in fact at times the divergence in views is immense - but everyone is respectful. 
And people brought snacks (for the second meeting in a row I forgot ...). It finished on time and we all headed out into the night to watch yet more theatre. 
Until next time

Monday, March 26, 2018

March 26. Day 85. Eyes on the skies

 Yay me. We now have solar panels on the roof. I am hoping this will protect my heart from the quarterly electrical bill shock. It's hideous. People say you've missed the solar boat. The rewards for return to the grid and rebates mean the glory days of solar installation are gone. Those people are not getting panels to offset hideously high power bills or to save the environment or both. It took only a couple of hours and we were done. Any longer and I think the dogs might have expired. The noise on the roof was driving them nuts. I then went to work. The noise from about was still deafening. This time the noisy miners attacking the kookaburras and the kookaburras retaliating. At least I knew someone was alive which is not always the case when you actually get into the lecture theatre ....

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March 25. Day 84. Where there's smoke

  I could be wrong but I think that unless it is shaken from us in a fire-related tragedy, there's a little bit of everyone that's a pyromaniac.
Fire is so fascinating. So hypnotic. Indeed, the one big draw back of living in the tropics is the lack of opportunity to sit in front of a fire. So where there's smoke there's Susan. Today the hottest attraction at the World Science Festival was Street Science and one of the headline acts was Science Steve. The mission of Steve is to make science accessible and fun and he does this by blowing things up and setting them alight. Where Steve goes children follow and I include myself in that category. He's a big personality with big bangs to match. I like that in a person.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March 24. Day 83. Close Encounter

It must be bloody hard work being a publicist. You can do everything right and have nothing to show for it in the end.
Such was today. The World Science Festival team had organised a very special preview and interview opportunity. Tonight, in the Concert Hall at QPAC, a world premiere was to be held. For the first time every the Film Close Encounters of the Third Kind would be screened with a full orchestra and choir playing the score. We knew that. It is was in the program. But what we didn't know was that 8 minutes of music removed from the original movie would be played for the first time. It was quite a coup and a media call was set for 1.30pm. Meet the creative team. Sit in or the rehearsal. All the media stations signed up. But then the bubble burst. Two bodies were washed up on Bribie beach. All the media disappeared. Only the dedicated QUT news team survived. That's great for our journalists but not so wonderful for the event promotors. That was my highlight for the day although following the students around with a crew was pretty good fun too. I made them jump in slime, hold snails and interview a stilt walking bubble blower who confesses she can't even walk in high heels. Who'd want to go chasing dead bodies? As a person who worked as a journalist on Bribie Island for five years, I refuse to answer that question.

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 23. Day 82. Waste not. Want not

Turtles. Or babies. Or baby turtles. What could possibly be cuter? Could anything be more interesting and engaging?
How about rubbish, lots and lots of rubbish?
By any "normal" test the babies and turtles would win. But journalists don't apply normal tests. They apply tests such as public interest and watchdog.
So when the organisers of the World Science Festival roll out a set piece with Professor Brian Greene, baby turtles and sick kids from the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital the journalists take a quick peek. And then that get back to the issue of the day. The Minister wants to talk turtles and science. The journalists want to talk waste management. She says "turtles". They say "waste". It's a game of cat and mouse. It's hard to say who won but the Minister seemed most pissed off which probably goes down as one to the fourth estate.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

March 22. Day 81. Blue sky thinking

Max Bishop has a question for Dr Karl
Why is the sky blue?
Why is the sun bright?
What makes the moon round? Do you believe in UFOs and Aliens?
Question after question abut the sky. And then it hit. These kids are in hospital. If these kids see the sky at all, it is through windows.
There was a lot of blue sky thinking going on here.
And the brightest star in this blue sky today is Dr Karl.
The celebrity scientist is in Brisbane for World Science Festival taking place at South Bank.
The Lady Cilento Children's Hospital is only a few hundred metres from the festival headquarters but that's a few hundred metres too far for most of these children.
So if you cant take the kids to the festival, you take the festival to the kids. The kids lapped it up, especially Max Bishop the liver transplant survivor who was chosen to interview Dr Karl. He was amazing, with the interviewing skills of a pro. if I'm honest I think all those kids and their parents are everyday heroes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March 21. Day 80. Explosive fun

If I was to choose a government minister to blow up, it wouldn't be Leeanne Enoch.
As a supporter of the arts, I throw my backing behind the Arts Minister.
Also she's the big sister of Wesley Enoch a playwright and former Queensland Theatre Company artistic director. That puts her in my good books.
That's not to say that I can't enjoy a joke at her expense.
Ms Enoch today launched the third annual World Science Festival in Brisbane.
Science Steve was on hand with his version of explosive fun. As instructed, Ms Enoch - who also happens to be the Science Minister - held a beaker. Science Steve set to work. The look on the Minister's face was priceless.
It was all in good fun and a great way to launch the festival.
For the rest of the week and all weekend I'll be at the festival with a group of journalism students.
If the past two years are anything to go by it will be rewarding and exhausting in equal measure. Watch this space.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March 20. Day 79. A little bit of drama in my life

If anything, there's too much Drama in my life. I live with an the individual now known as Drama Being, a QUT Fine Arts Drama student. My office is less than 100 metres from the building that houses both the acting and drama students and is about the same distance from La Boite Theatre. In addition QACI, the performing arts high school is a very short distance down the hill. This means I barely raise an eyebrow when I hear something that sounds like a monologue or looks like a costume. If I witnessed a fight, I wouldn't know whether to call the police of applaud. So it came as not much of a surprise when I saw a group of students in costume standing on a street corner performing something. Another day. Another show. It was a real traffic stopper, mainly because it was right at a busy set of lights.
I love the confidence of these young people in taking their art to the street. I arrived late so I have no idea what the point of the performance was but I give them 10 out of 10 for effort and costuming. I'm sure those with a little less drama in their lives would have been more impressed by the shock value.

Monday, March 19, 2018

March 19. Day 78. Sinking my teeth in.

My father was a dentist. In the mid 70s, when we kids were in primary school, we all moved to England for two years in what was a hugely unusual and difficult endeavour at the time. We returned to Australia in time for my older sister to start high school. In those two years, times had changed and all his surgery equipment needed to be updated and replaced. It cost the equivalent of a small house loan to achieve it. I thought of that today when I took Number One Son to the dentist for his final X-Rays before wisdom teeth removal next month. I can only imagine how much kitting out a dentist surgery would be today. 3D crown printers, cameras on probes, real time nerve imagery.  It's crazy shit. I'm still impressed by TVs mounted in the ceiling. The rest of this equipment is something else. To think, back in the day we used to act as dental nurse on each other when dad checked our teeth on weekends. I still clearly remember suctioning up my brother's tongue by accident. Well it was accidental the first time. You could do that sort of thing in the 70s. Not any more. If fear of damaging this specialist equipment didn't kill such notions, the insurance risk would. But it taught me a lot not least of which was that I never ever wanted to be a dentist.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 18. Day 77. Me and my big mouth

One of my Sunday outings of choice is a trip to the markets. I'm especially fond of the ones in the city Botanic Gardens. These markets once lived in the Riverside Centre and in their heyday were huge. But with the amount of glass and concrete they were unforgivably hot a lot of the time.  Times change and so did the location. They are now much smaller and to my mind much less impersonal. They are also under nice shady trees and close to the ponds. It's all very relaxed and pleasant. I know where to find the stalls I like. Today it was beads I was after. I've got to know the bloke who runs that stall well. He used to live in Highgate Hill. He remembers I work at the uni from the time I walked down during a break at QUT Open Day wearing my very unfashionable QUT shirt. Today we hasn't there. He once told me her didn't make the trip from the Sunshine Coast if the weather was bad. Today was bright blue. By my reckoning that meant he had no excuse.
So I went and asked the market management and asked if they knew when he would be back.
They said it really depended on how his wife's cancer treatment was going.
 Well that certainly put my desire for beads into perspective....

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 17. Day 76. Dog Day Afternoon

The only thing worse than self diagnosis, is booking a consultation with Dr Google. Today, I decided I had chronic fatigue syndrome. A person should not feel this tired, this often, I reasoned. I started consulting Dr Google but it made me tired so I went back to bed. It was about noon. I'd been awake an hour. I was awoken just before 4pm by Rumple standing over me and barking. I suspect he thought I'd died or something. He may have just wanted to get out of the house. It seemed like the sensible thing for us all to do. We went to the dog park. My dogs are pretty useless as dog parks. They seem to think that the parks exist as speed dating opportunities to audition new owners or something. In any event, they find a human with no dog hanging off them - usually because the dog is off doing that the dog park is designed for - and they go up for a smooch. Because if there's one thing my dogs lack in life it's affection - not. They played chase for about 20 seconds and then went off to find a human each to get a cuddle from. If I asked Dr Google, i could probably find a name for this sort of thing. But that would take energy and I have none...

Friday, March 16, 2018

March 16. Day 75. Randy the Rooster

If Randall the Rooseter's plan when crossing the road was to get to the other side, things didn't go well.
He was struck by a truck and dragged along on the road.
Fortunately for Randall, the occupants in the car following saw what happened and picked Randy up. He was delivered to St Vincent's Vet and into the caring hands of vet extraordinaire and my friend Dr Megan. For the past four weeks Randy the Rooster has been undergoing rehabilitation, first at the surgery and then at home with the rest of the  family pets. But suburban back yards are no place for roosters - council regulations say so. Randy the rooster needed a forever farm. Megan went searching and in Beaudesert found a mum with a couple of kids and a couple of chickens prepared to take a rooster. So we agreed to go for a drive.  I gave the mission a hashtag. #RandyTheRehabilitatedRooster'sRoadTrip. I also decided Nicole Kidnam could play me when they made the road trip movie. After Randy was handed over to his new forever home we headed off to lunch at the winery just down the road.  Albert River Wines is a fine place to go for lunch even if you don't happen to have a rooster to drop off just down the road. And because it was me that wasn't the end of the day's excitement. I rounded out the Friday with a Fame concert. This was my 16th annual Opening Clubs. Bid day. Awesome outcome - especially for Randy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

March 15. Day 74. Hush little baby

 I was at South Bank with my (fur) babies this afternoon when two women approached. The younger woman was cradling a baby swaddled in a blanket in her arms. The other asked if her friend could pat the dogs. I agreed turning to look at the soft, pink bundle. They unwrapped the blanket and explained that this lifelike but lifeless bub was a Reborn. Okay, I hadn't heard the term before but I got the idea - extremely lifelike doll.
She was called Maisey. She cost $300 and had only just been picked up today. Maisey's "mum" had a collection of similar reborn bubs at home. I was offered a nurse. Instinctively I made sure the head was protected. I had to ask "why?" By this stage it had become clear that the younger woman had some form of intellectual disability. The other woman explained that she lived alone and her babies offered her comfort and a purpose.She changed their nappies. She nurtured them. She cuddled them. It seemed to me that this was $300 well spent. So much joy and no sleepless nights

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

March 14. Day 73. A hard shell to crack

According to an online quiz, my spirit animal is a deer. This, apparently involves combining a softness and gentleness with a strength and determination. That's not wildly off the mark but it's probably true in some respects of just about everyone. Deer people are also able to move quickly .... yeah no.. Who would have thought? An online quiz got it wrong. My affinity is with the turtle. Slow with a soft underbelly who likes to try and present a hard exterior to the world but really fools no-one.
I needed a hard shell today. I was at one of those meetings where you should be issued with a shield not an agenda. It was uncomfortable, unpleasant. Later I needed a lie down followed by a calming walk with dogs. It helped. A bit. But I suspect many, many more feathers will be ruffled before this one plays out. Now where's my shell again?