Saturday, July 31, 2004

Here comes the bride

Who would have thought that way up the Main North road and down a non-descript semi-industrial road would lie a magnificent Greek Orthodox church. Not only grand in its exterior but within, a shimmering wonderworld of golden icons - on every wall, on the ceiling, even small icons interspersed with the crystals of the huge chandeliers.
The bride, a Cypriot Greek colleague, was sung into the church by the priest. No music. And we had to stand. Not just for her entrance, but for the entire ceremony - which was lengthy since it was sung and spoken in both Greek and English.
We were a small group of work colleagues among the crowd of Greeks. We were the ones who did not know the protocols - but followed the few cues. But we were happy to see our fiesty colleague wed.

Friday, July 30, 2004


OK. It has happened. A young colleague, a very talented and savvy finance journalist, recoiled from me today raising his hands defensively as if to ward me off. "You Mac people are weird," he gasped. "You're possessed."
I was just telling him he should not tolerate his shonky old PC when he could get himself a Mac. What's weird about that?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Aversion therapy?

I like to shop. But it turns out that I am a lacklustre shopper when put in the company of a serious shopaholic. After today I understand that "shop until you drop" is not a joke. It is a genuine phenomenon. My idea of poking around a couple of junk shops on a Saturday morning was put into shade by Peter's attack on the local shops. We did every op shop, second-hand shop, furniture shop, bookshop, oriental tat shop and garage sale in three towns! How many can there be! You never realise until you look. There are zillions of the buggers. Mostly staffed by nice old ladies wearing nametags. " Madge" is a popular name among charity shop volunteers, I discovered. I was starving, craving coffee and exhausted - and he was still filled with the fervor. I found myself hanging around the footpaths, gazing into windows and thinking what a thrill it would be to be at home cleaning a bathroom. Anything but another Aladdin's cave of old consumables. Anything.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Tati town

The dryest state in the dryest continent was wet today. It rained solidly all day long. Most unusual and, of course, generally appreciated. But the city is not accustomed to such lengthy deluges and, as I scuttled across town under my silver brolly to renew car registration, it was to splash through puddles formed on the footpaths and to leap over torrents rushing towards gulping stormdrains. And with the heavy rain clouds also was the dim, grey light - not dark exactly, but dull. No shadows.
The motor vehicle registration office was interesting. I had forgotten how quaintly Orwellian it was with its austere sweeps of faintly vulgar minimalist design, vast curves of counters with officials tucked behind their glass walls, above them digital banners numbering each official and also each client. I was client 122. This identity was presented to me by a darting little information officer in a central booth. She snapped to and fro behind her high, sleek counter, diminutive and neat, like a character in a Jacques Tati film. Oh, Tati would have loved this place,. And we clients sat and waited on very uncomfortable ultra modern chairs, set rather impractically, I thought, in curved rows dispersed here and there - so the waiting clientele was less aware of their own numbers. An electronic voice crooned out the calls - "Number 97 to counter 14..." - and the turnover was quite efficient. The officials were pleasantly impersonal. Mine was a trainee called Daniel. I explained that my real intention on traipsing down in the rain was to register a change of address for the car. The Department's website had stubbornly refused to recognise my client number, so I had been unable to complete the process electronically. I presented him with the form the little Tati woman had given me. "I can't take this," he said. "It needs your husband's siganture." I explained that he was in the US and it was a simple address change for the car's garaging. "It still needs your husband's signature because it is in his name," insisted the official. "But one is supposed to be able to do this online. I am only here because your website was not recognising your numerical system," I explained. "This function is designed to be done electronically - in a way that does not require a signature. So why do you need a signature when I come in person?" He had no answer except to say that he had never seen the website. I gave up, paid the registration and went back into the rain. I did not need to make that trip at all. So it goes in the world of bureaucracy.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Toothaches and overwork

I am so tired I am sideways. In bed with the laptop - at least able to let go of the day at last. I have just completed the two net columns - which are due tomorrow. The workload has been almost beyond possible - trying to be two people, to do two full-time jobs. And, of course, coming home is not a rest for there is the shopping to do on the way home, the meal to cook, Mama to visit, Peter's late meal - and the pop-ins which invariably punctuate the evening. No wonder toothache comes to add its mean burden. And I take the painkillers and do the gel treatments and wonder when I am going to lose these teeth which my body seems intent on rejecting so cruelly. I wonder what false teeth are like. No one tells one these things.I wonder how long it will be before I find out for myself.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Weekends are too short

The pelicans have moved. Usually they roost on rocks near the boat ramp jetty. But there have been gales this week. It is the coldest it gets and the wind howls around the house at night. But in the lee of the Bluff, it is sheltered - so the pelicans have mooved to rocks very near the shore in the shadow of the Bluff. There, they hunch up against the weather, beaks tucked under wings. And, like us, they wait for this blasted winter to be over.
It's been a girls weekend, just Annie and me. We have achieved some productive work - and a lot of knitting. But once one gets the working juices going, the scarey thing is the way in which time slithers from beneath one. I have so much more to do. I worked on one commission. There is another, albeit with a deadline next week. And then there are the five books I have to assess and the mighty tome I am supposed to have finished before interview its author in the morning. More than a person can do on their time off - so the weekend also is burdened with that sense of "where did the hours go?"
So, I can't afford to sit here thinking about it...I had better pick up that over-fat book and read myself to sleep. Back to town in the morning - the cruel wrench away from my lovely stormy sea.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Farenheit incendiary

At last the film has been seen - and riveting it was. The media preview was enthusiastically attended, not just by media but by the film world, too. Scott Hicks was among them, his hair growing once again, now long pageboy.
People sat literally on the edge of their seats throughout the film. I was surprised to learn afterwards how many people were unaware of many of the revelations in the film. I guess my interest and intimacy with US politics is somewhat above average. So there were many people shocked and, as in the US, people wanted to hang around a talk rather than make the usual quick exit from the cinema.
I think the film was too long. Moore dwelt too long on the grieving Flint mother. It was overkill and it detracted from the intensity of the documentary. That said, it was well researched and balanced with just enough savage irony to break the gravity with levity.
Bush at the primary school after being told of the attack was what disturbed many people most, they told me. Bruce says it was the same in the US. The "deer in the headlights" idiocy one observed.
I was disturbed by the servicemen in Iraq, particularly in hearing the kick-head music they pipe through their helmets to hype them into attack. I did not know about this and I find it sinister.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Night birds

Who would know it was the middle of winter. I lie here in my bed, windows open onto a still, still night. The sea is calm like a mirror in the inky dark - the perfect dark for, without the moon, the stars can star - and star they do tonight. The Southern Cross hangs high above, the Milky Way sprawls, Scorpio coils... And, if you stand at the water's edge, you can see them again, a twinkle in the sea. The islands are barest dark mounds out there in the darkness. But occasionally one can hear the birds on Wright Island, a disturbance or a fairy penguin squabble. A while ago some cockatoos flew over. I wonder what marauder set them into flight at this hour. Queale and I walked down onto the beach a while ago to soak in the perfection of this winter night. There were lights of the fishermen out on the jetty beneath The Bluff - and there was a white shape drifting in the water close to the shore. But as it came closer, it divided and one could see that, oh so bright a white, it was two pelicans silently gliding down the shoreline. I did not know they cruised about by night. They seemed to be in perfect harmony - ghost birds in the dark. Beautiful. And now I shall put aside the computer and fall asleep to the sound of the water lapping, the occasional thud of a sweet it is.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Bravo for Edwards

I was sure within myself, so very sure, that John Edwards was the right man to run with John Kerry. I looked them all over thoroughly, all those Dem presidential candidates during the NH Primaries, and was taken with Edwards' qualities and his passion. He is the man. I tipped him and sat back to wait. I was not surprised at the annoucement, only pleased. Now the scales are balanced and the campaign will begin. This continues the training ground for John Edwards cos I feel in my waters that he one day also will become President.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Michael Moore

The frustration of waiting for the Australian release of Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11!
I have kept track of Moore's work since long before he became fashionable and adored the courage and integrity of the man. Now I read all about the film and the responses it is gleaning in the US - with a sense of delighted amazement that Moore's time truly has come. The American people are responding. They are going to see the film en masse - and they are being stirred from apathy. Perchance they will vote, for the percentage of that population which actually goes out and votes is pitiful. I think the rise and rise of Michael Moore represents a sea change in the US. A messiah of the left is risen. The people see that he is good. The groundswell has begun. The future has a glimmer of hope.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Full moon

What a strange day. Tonight the brilliance of the full moon offers a glorious sky layered in bright, white back-lit clouds. But perhaps it is the pull of the moon which has made people rather odd all day. First my delightful and adored periodontist, racing the clock and on the hop, who gave me two weeks to choose between two very depressing solutions to the root problem which has me miserably swallowing antibiotics. The devil or the deep blue sea? I may take the sea.
Then, in the office, more people breathless on the hop. A hopping day. A sense of rush - personal rush rather than the usual quiet urgency which is life against the daily deadline. Agitation. Lost copy. Disarray. And for some reason, people wanting to disclose things. Telling their stories, their worries. One, in fact, pouring his heart out about his secret lover who has taken another man just when he was ready to leave his wife and marry her.
I finished the working day by opening an art exhibition. Wonderful art. Lovely artist. Good people. It all went down rather well, considering I was a toothachey old thing who really wanted to be home and prone. One astonishes oneself when one rallies at the sight of a sea of expectant faces.
But now I have my wish. It is my Friday night at last. I am in my sanctuary and the moon is my friend.