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01/01 Direct Link
New Year's Day, Sydney, Australia. I went to bed at 11.59 and heard the fire works. They were very noisy and I am sure also quite beautiful (sounded close by!) I was awoken in the early hours by a very-drunk yahoo. There is an abandoned bicycle leaning on the front fence this morning... rusty, old, not some new Christmas present stolen, so I leave it there. Also, bizarrely, a red ball. A wandering juggler? This is very unusual for my street, by the way, which normally sees no action. A pleasant Summer's day, a perfect start to 2016.
01/02 Direct Link
Thinking about crime and how people always say they are innocent, making it hard to tell apart the people who really are innocent. If you get caught fair and square why put all your resources into defending yourself. Why not put your efforts into making amends. If you were inclined to do that you most probably would not have committed the crime in the first place. I guess lawyers will encourage defense as that is the way they earn their living. They would hardly say, go ahead and plead guilty and do your time, whatever it may be, good bye.
01/03 Direct Link
Saw Joy, a movie directed by David O. Russell. The only other movie I have seen of his is Three Kings, so missed some good movies there. I had no idea how hard it was to get a product on the market after the initial invention. You need a lot of money, but when it is successful the money rolls in. Money makes money. The character Joy invented a product and eventually successfully marketed it, then expanded the business with many other inventions. The story is semi-autobiographical, now to read up on the actual facts!
01/04 Direct Link
I keep an eye on the weather. I used to be on the look out for heat waves due to living in a house with terrible insulation. Now it is on behalf of the hens. Always good to plan washing days, too, to avoid washing on days like today, days of major deluge. Wait for it to ease and walk, then walk into a shower just as heavy. Ponder whether to take shoes off, but that is hard on the feet. Clothes and shoes are soaked. Think of getting gum boots. Water roars through the huge pipe under the driveway.
01/05 Direct Link
I read The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke for the second time. A colleague recommended the Dave Robicheaux novels a couple of years ago and I bought the first one and read it then. When I finished this time I immediately began again from the beginning to understand what happened... I found the story line a bit confusing, but that is me, not the writing. Dave is a maverick and is not always likable, but he is good deep down. The descriptive passages of New Orleans that set the scene are superb and well woven around the gritty passages.
01/06 Direct Link
I read a news article which attributed a politician as saying there are three types of leaders: straights, fixers and maddies. I looked it up and it was another politician who had originally said this, specifically about political leaders. What did we do before Google. I don't know which version was correct. I suspect the latter. Anyway, what good fun. I think it is pretty accurate and I immediately started to put the recent leaders of the country into a box. It was surprisingly easy to classify them. Apparently being mentally ill can also help make someone a good leader.
01/07 Direct Link
Today is day 300, counting down. We will find out what the countdown is for in about 300 days. When I learned to type, the numbers one to nine were to be typed in full. It was acceptable to type numbers ten and over in full or as a number, but the format used must be consistent. I still follow this rule (at least for the consistency part). I am not sure if it was ten, but I think so, double digits. I am not good at mathematics. I shortened it to "MASS" on a school book cover by mistake.
01/08 Direct Link
If I was still excited by good quality textas, when the ink flows freely and the colours are bright and vibrant, I would probably buy an adult colouring book. I have not yet seen a book with pictures or designs I am interested in colouring, not that I have looked at many, other than in passing when initially curious about the fad. I used to love colouring in when I was a kid, but the desire is gone. If I tried one with good quality paper I might like it, but I am not interested enough to go that far.
01/09 Direct Link
There is a spell of very hot weather in the week ahead which will mean the hens come inside for part of the day. Coincidentally, I will not be home for most of the hot days. Typical. I looked at the forecast weeks ahead and I can say it has completely changed, of course! It will at least cool down at night so they won't be inside all the time. I need to set up the inside hen-pen and pack before I go away. It will be hot where I am going, too, so I won't escape the heat.
01/10 Direct Link
Her delight at answering the phone was tempered by her revulsion at the cockroach that ran across the telephone table. Never mind, who could be calling! She had been at home, bored, for weeks. "Hello" she said. "Hello, this is Problem Pest Exterminators. We will be there in half an hour." "OK," she said, "see you soon!" She had forgotten they were coming. Each day blends into the day before and the day after. She decided to wait outside in the sunshine, and remain there while they went about their deadly business. She supposed she would be busy cleaning later.
01/11 Direct Link
I return to Melbourne for the first time in about two months. It is good to be back. A car passes the taxi from the airport with registration plate "Victoria - The Garden State", and another "Victoria - The Place to Be" with an advert for Heidelberg Toyota. We pass the huge red matchsticks and the low bridge or whatever it is. It is hot, but not humid. David Bowie is dead. I saw the David Bowie exhibition in Melbourne last year. There is a bigger story today, the entire Essendon AFL team banned for twelve months for using a banned substance.
01/12 Direct Link
She plugged the electric jug in the wall socket and tried the switch both ways, being unsure which was off and which was on. She changed to the other electric socket and again tried the switch both ways. She plugged in the phone charger and it worked. She put water in a saucepan, put it on a gas burner and pressed what looked like an igniter. Nothing happened. She looked around for a gas lighter. Not finding one, she tried again with the igniter thing and heard click, click, click. She boiled the water and made a cup of tea.
01/13 Direct Link
She had spent all day in an air-conditioned office. Although she had heard how hot the day was, she was unprepared for the 40 degree heat when she left the building. She walked through the city battling the heat and the strong northerly wind. The sky darkened with clouds of dust and the people on the street shielded their eyes from the grit blowing by. It was so dry and windy she did not perspire other than a small spot on the back of her neck. Spots of rain began to fall threatening to turn the dust to mud.
01/14 Direct Link
She plugged the electric jug in the wall socket and tried the switch both ways, being unsure which was off and which was on. She changed to the other electric socket and again tried the switch both ways. She plugged in the phone charger and it worked. She put water in a saucepan, put it on a gas burner and pressed what looked like an igniter. Nothing happened. She looked around for a gas lighter. Not finding one, she tried again with the igniter thing and heard click, click, click. She boiled the water and made a cup of tea.
01/15 Direct Link
I am so sleepy after days away and a return journey taking half a day. Furry and feathery pets are glad to see me. A nap with the cats and one of the chickens lets me hold it without struggling to get away. There is a lot of tidying up to do. It is quiet here compared to the centre of Melbourne. The temperature is perfect. I recall summers where every day was horrendously hot but I think that is a false memory as the very hot days are not constant. I am glad it is not noticeably humid today.
01/16 Direct Link
David Bowie and Alan Rickman have died at age 69. Amid concern 69 is the new 27, Stevie Wright defied setting a trend by dying first at only 68. Bowie and Rickman still looked like themselves. Wright had a harder life. The next ten years would have seen a change until, as older gentlemen, it would be hard to recognise them as their younger selves. They would have turned into old men, had they lived another ten or twenty years. It makes 69 seem young, and I suppose 69 is young. Young enough to work, young enough to be president.
01/17 Direct Link
The holiday house was full of spiders when the owner paid a visit twelve months after the house was last booked. She had seen it happen before, when holiday makers left doors open. There were a lot of redback spider webs under the wheelbarrow by the back door. She could see similar webs in the TV stand and under the low furniture. She carefully captured the black house spiders and put them outside, and brushed down the daddy long legs from the ceilings. She took the can of insect spray and sprayed where ever she could see the redback webs.
01/18 Direct Link
Marion looked to those below as though she was having a lot of fun zooming her little aircraft named Eagle through the clear morning sky. Those below were concerned hell had arrived on earth when they saw what looked like an explosion rip through Eagle. With pride they saw Marion had ejected from the plane and gently glided to earth in her parachute. Marion had given them all a fright. She was the most exciting girl in the school, no coffin for her. They saw Eagle land and knew her partner in crime, Andrea, was the pilot of the plane.
01/19 Direct Link
He has started buying the newspaper every day to do the puzzles (in particular the cryptic crossword), and keep up with the news. We will see how long this lasts. He falls asleep on the train every afternoon so there is limited opportunity for reading there. They will be ready for the weekend when there is more time. He looks at the colouring in books that are the latest craze and wonders why they are so popular. He also wonders why puzzle books concentrate almost exclusively on original sudoku and find-a-word... and there are so many of them!
01/20 Direct Link
Summer doesn't bother her as much as in previous years. It might be because she started wearing shorts again instead of long skirts or long pants. She has found a clothing store nearby with good quality, sensible but attractive clothes that fit. Being close by is good for someone who could not be bothered shopping. Maybe the reason is the summer is not such a hot one, or there are breaks of milder weather between the scorching days. Having a properly insulated house and air conditioning helps, but that is not new to this year. Being older and not caring?
01/21 Direct Link
My chickens sound as though they are asking questions when they cluck at me as I approach their cage at a time outside the routine. Their clucking sounds soft and gentle. I am not sure if the upward inflection is real or perceived. When I approach the coop at feed time they look up expectantly and in silence knowing exactly what is going to happen. Perhaps if they were very hungry and not in a routine they might be more vocal. When I throw in their favourite food they clamor around and squawk in competition for the first piece thrown.
01/22 Direct Link
Planet 9 has been discovered lurking at the edge of our solar system. I hope it keeps this name, but if it is renamed it will always be Planet 9 to me. I have been trying to see the four planets visible to the naked eye lined up across the sky, but each morning has been too cloudy. Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars are visible in a line from low in the East to high in the Northern sky for about an hour each morning. I saw two of them. Tomorrow morning might be clear. I should get a telescope.
01/23 Direct Link
Daiso is a shop in which every item is $2.80. I have walked through Daiso for two Christmases running. This year I want to make my presents. Make my Christmas crackers (bonbons) and the little gifts that go in them. Daiso and Pigeonhole are mall-buddies. One cheap and one hipster-yuppie-exy (expensive). One with cheap goodies you don't really need and one with expensive goodies you don't really need. Both have useful items too. Pigeonhole has beautiful items. The Christmas tree has finally been taken down. Packed up in a box and put it away for another year.
01/24 Direct Link
It shouldn't matter what we believe as long as what we believe does no harm, and as long as we don't expect others to follow our beliefs. It shouldn't matter if we believe nonsense, as long as it is benign and we don't expect others to believe our nonsense. It shouldn't matter if we believe nonsense as long as it is benign and we don't insist on others believing our nonsense. We are tribal. We have short memories. We are ignorant of history. We are ignorant of why things are so. When observed out of context any action is absurd.
01/25 Direct Link
Finished a great novel, Life or Death by Michael Robotham. I got it from the library. I want to read lots of books this year. Life or Death is about a guy who has nothing but bad luck and it is hard to see things will turn out OK in the end. The characters were well written and, for the most part, real and believable, although I felt some fell into cliche. Not that I would really know, having had nothing to do with the US prison system. A great read, well worth it. I could not put it down.
01/26 Direct Link
Happy Straya Day. It is a quiet day in the neighbourhood. No barbecues or parties nearby. Australia Day is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet on 26th January 1788. There is a lot of talk about changing the date to be relevant to all Australians, not only about the arrival of Europeans. It is a public holiday that this year falls on Tuesday, and apparently lots of people also take the Monday off as a sickie. Australia Day if moved should be a public holiday Monday which would tidy up the random day mid-week issue also.
01/27 Direct Link
There has been some fantastic TV on over the past month. I couldn't believe it, for this time of year. On the ABC has been Inside Men and Exile (both a few years old), and on SBS The Missing. The Missing is the story of a young boy who has been taken, and the efforts of his parents and police to find him. Exile is a thriller about families, secrets and corruption. Inside Men is a drama about a robbery and the men on the inside. All three excellent. Two have finished, and one episode of The Missing to go.
01/28 Direct Link
The youngest grandchild turns 13 today. The oldest turns 1/4 of a century soon. If I added the other grandchildren I could make a riddle, if I was clever enough. I wonder if it is easier to create riddles or to solve them. People who are good at cryptic crosswords are probably good at riddles, if they put their mind to it, if they practice. I made a 'cake' out of a block of chocolate topped with marshmallow biscuits with a candle in each. If I hadn't banned myself from eating chocolate it would be half gone by now.
01/29 Direct Link
I had some mad plans to watch the final episode of The Missing next Wednesday... basically going back to work to watch it after the movie course because I wouldn't make it home in time. I would get home at about midnight, on the train. I got a copy of it and realised I'd missed something. There are three episodes to go, not one. How embarrassing. I now have all three episodes and don't have to miss it because of the movie course I have on the same night, and because I can't watch SBS On Demand on my computer.
01/30 Direct Link
I saw a play by Louis Nowra, The Golden Age. It made me think of James Joyce so I Googled both names and found Louis Nowra has written a biography of James Joyce. I have never managed to read more than a few pages of James Joyce, but I tried several times so they are in my brain. The book I tried was A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It was my mother's and I don't know if she ever managed to read it, or where the book is now. Anyway, I enjoyed the play a lot.
01/31 Direct Link
I made a mistake yesterday when I wrote the author of The Golden Age had written a biography of James Joyce. The biography, called Kings Cross, is about Kings Cross, a suburb of Sydney. James Joyce was mentioned as being a writer the gang in the Cross didn't think much of. At least, I think that was the gist of it, but with my inadequate comprehension skills who knows! And with that let us bid adieu to January 2016. Summer is two-thirds over and it hasn't been too bad. Perhaps I have become used to the heat and humidity.