Monday, January 26, 2004

More long distance stress

This is absurd. I am 12,000 miles away - and yet I am absolutely wired waiting for the NH Primary vote.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Hitting the hills

It is ages and aeons since I have been to the Hills. But a cute little Megane test car and word that my favorite seaweed soap may be found in Hahndorf seemed like reason enough for a run up the prettiest of motorways too the little tourist haven German town. I don't know why people want to knock Hahndorf for being German touristy. That's the whole point. One never knows when a bratwurst and saukraut may take one's fancy. And there were the people, having their steins of beer at the umbrella pavement tables. And the wee shops full of knits and weaves, leather, crystals, soaps, gemstones and cakes, cakes, cakes. Rex and I strolled the length of the town, meeting Lita and her gentleman friend Surindra in his new upmarket Indian store. My soap I did not find, although I found many fine hand-made soaps and I bought some honey furniture polish...and we wended our way through the winding and summery Hills roads, lined with blooming cannas and agapanthus, past orchards and villages, to a new weekend market in an old woolens factory. Goat cheeses and olives, berries and oils, women with spinning wheels, more soaps and bags and crafts. We had coffee and a light, late lunch in this pleasant ambience and then hummed along more pastoral roads, stopping at a roadstand to buy kilos of juicy black cherries fresh from the trees, and apples and honey and newly-baked apple cake...
And we figured that maybe we would not leave it quite so long before we headed for them thar Hills again.

Friday, January 23, 2004

NH stressout

Of course I couldn't see the Iowa Caucus on the office cable - because the blokes wanted to see the tennis. No one is too bothered by the dramas of American politics - not when there is sport going on.
But CNN served me well with its poll table and I kept up to the moment right there on the computer. So glad to see the back of Gephardt. So astonished to see the demise of Dean. Where were the Deaniebabies? Apparently few of them turned out to rally the forces to the Caucus - and then Dean lost the plot. Like everyone else, I continue to ponder the aberration of that victory speech.
Now the action is back in NH - where Clark has lost some kudos with his patronising snipe at Kerry, a fellow veteran. Inappropriate.
Kerry looks presidential - but will the Mass man make it in the south? That is the question. B has put his money on Edwards - and, indeed, Edwards has been running a very focused and intelligent campaign. I won't cry if he wins.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Impatient as hell

The Democrat Presidential Primaries are neck-and-neck in Iowa and I am so desperately impatient to know the outcome. Not as impatient as the candidates, I daresay.
Then there is New Hampshire where the outcome, I suspect, will be different. And then on through the states. An interesting and extended process. I can't imagine how the candidates cope with the demands of such protracted campaigning. I hear that Clark's voice is going as he leaps from stump to stump in NH. And that having endorsed him, Michael Moore has been up there appearing with him. B attended that meeting and describes the immense buzz in the packed school stadium. He sent photos among which was one of the media OB vans outside the meeting, parked in the thick snow. This was fascinating for, as I was looking at this on Sunday morning in Australia, I also was watching Fox live from the US - showing the very footage taken from that very OB crew in NH. And I was struck by the miracle of modern communications. Not for the first time. It constantly blows me away that our world is now thus connected. If only the world could find, in these instant and wonderous communications, a like mind in the name of love and peace.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Out to launch

We had the launch for Womadelaide in Botanic Gardens. Perfect sunny day - in the shade of towering trees with magpies doing elegant swooping fly-bys, lorikeets twittering in packs and huge, vivid rosellas chattering from aloft. Even the odd crow came to check out the gathered crowd. As the speakers droned on, a sequence of rather lovely girls in black magically materialised from the shrubbery carrying platters of the most exquisite finger-food - olivebread with roasted aubergine and soft goat cheese, mini bloody marys with scampi, cheese and rice balls dipped in tomato salsa, fragrant cold rolls...
It omened beautifully for the best of musical experiences. I will ever love Womad.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Cannibal politics

Fox finally has been showing an interest in the Democrat Presidential Primaries. Why? Because they have an opening for a negative slant. So now they preen and glint with pleasure, revelling in the Democrat white-anting of Howard Dean. Everyone is gunning for Dean. It's time to lop the tallest poppy. Gephardt has been at it from the outset - for which attitude he lost my respect early in the piece. Kerry has been at it and it has done him harm. The only one who is standing apart and not attacking one of his own kind is Wes Clark. And he grows in stature in my eye.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

A private airport

A dream or a nightmare? I am not sure. But my study certainly has become an "internet cafe" as threatened. Tonight there were four mac laptops and my old PC all humming away - along with their accompanying users, of course. A hive of downloading and installations. Rather a jolly group, all told. Students and writers. Of course it was a mac event. The PC, the only desktop, was my retreat since my mac was busy getting some new applications. I had some chatting and surfing to do - and some quiet comparisons, if truth be known. I now loathe this PC keyboard, although I am not altogether comfortable on the wee flat thing on the laptop. But I am old school. No soft flat-handed finger-patting of the keys. I hit the keys - because I typed before I keyboarded. I typed on thumping, great antique newsroom typewriters - those old Underwoods with white keys. What with the heavy nature of the machines and the need to imprint through three layers of carbons, a strong stroke was needed on each key and a firm arm to whack the carriage return. Those were the days. No one got RSI. They got exercise. And newsrooms were full of the clack-a-clack of many reporters hammering out stories, phones ringing and voices shouting "Copy". Oh yes, and those chutes which zapped the copy through to the compositors - whooosh. How different are newsrooms today - quiet keyboard pattering, subdued voices on phones. No copy boys or chutes. The copy reaches its destination with a touch of the return key.
And no coils of smoke from ashtrays on all the desks.
But there is just as much paper piled all over the place, even if the old spikes have been banned. Apparently they suddenly became dangerous. They were removed because we might hurt ourselves - after scores of year. A work hazard. What a joke. Work Safety makes children of us all.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

What a lovely day. It's a perfect "Adelaide" day - temperature in the 30s, air clean and dry, sky a vastness of pristine blue. As I look out the window mid-afternoon, there are but one or two cars in the city streets - double the number to be seen this morning when the city was in somnulent stillness - apart from the occasional stumbling merriment of young people perchance on the way home from the "recovery' parties after the big night.
A nice night it was, too. With Peter I cruised into the city and perused the Lord Mayor's NY Eve street party - the main drag a scene of tables and chairs and food stands, families strolling and eating or watching the live entertainment. Very busy but very laid-back.
We were en route to Stormy's, paying an early visit to her NY Eve party. Stormy is the city's famous brothel madam and a thoroughly good spirit. She lives in a luxurious penthouse over the shop, so to speak. We took the lift from the mirrored corridor and found ourselves in the brothel reception area. Stormy had not yet set the lift to go up to her private quarters. Very plush and fastidious is the brothel - reflective of Stormy's Dutch background, perhaps. We had a soft drink and jolly conversations with Stormy and her new husband, plus a few early guests before heading off to the official party of the night, hosted by the city's most legendary drag queen, Roger aka Rouge. He was not in drag and nor were the others. It was a relaxed social event for friends of all ilks - and a gregarious and easy-going lot they were. Show tunes playing, the odd person getting up and dancing a stunning routine before sitting down and picking up the drink again. Food flowing from all directions, an accomplished young chef in the kitchen cooking up an endless storm of elegant fare. His cakes table was groaning with elegant indulgences. No empty tummies at this party. Quite the opposite. We were presented with a plate piled high with cakes and tarts when we announced we had to leave before midnight and, thus furnished, we arrived at my mother's to have our micro NY Eve party - just the three of us. I poured us Quandong fortified wine on ice and set out anchovy stuffed olives, fresh pretzels and sweet potato crisps and we settled in to watch the Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks on TV and toast each other for the new year. Sam, DJing a NY Eve party at the city club, managed to phone a minute after the mignight chime. He never forgets his dependent grandmother, not for a minute.
I chatted on for an hour or so and then drifted off to bed, ready to begin the new year at work.