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02/01 Direct Link
First day back at school, with everyone on board. Will be busy as hell this year. New headmaster. Many new teachers, some very junior. I am now one of the seniors. I could have been senior sooner if I felt senior, but it took a while. The main reason I feel senior now is that there are those who are so very, very junior. Also having a senior role and training helps. I should have started back yesterday, but wanted one more day. I hope it is not too shit of a day. It's a good place, will be fine.
02/02 Direct Link
Two two sixteen. I recently wrote the year as 1916 instead of 2016. I wonder what that means. At the time I looked at it in astonishment, not quite sure what I had done. It looked so wrong. Sixteen years into the century I regress. No wonder I was startled. I need to put some felt under my keyboard. It clatters awfully. I have a folded down manila folder under it but it is not working very well. I have taken it away and there is not much difference. Put it back and, actually yes, it does dampen the noise.
02/03 Direct Link
Saw a film called Anomalisa, directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, in a movie course I am doing. I would not choose to see an animation normally (stop frame animation) so it was good for me to have this film in the series. I thought it was amazing, and I could see reflections of Being John Malkovich of which Charlie Kaufman wrote the screen play. The characters seemed so real, even though they had the joins in their heads showing. Apparently a lot of this is removed post production and I didn't know it existed in the first place.
02/04 Direct Link
I am about half way through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I have not enjoyed a book on so many levels for a long time. I think she is a wonderful writer. I appreciate also the one narrator and the mainly chronological order of the book, as I often find swapping back and forth between characters and time periods disruptive.

It was one of those days where people notice me and sometimes smile at me for no apparent reason, like the female passenger in a car turning the corner where I was waiting to cross the street. I wonder why.
02/05 Direct Link
It is strange when someone dies unexpectedly. You think of them living their lives, waking up on the day and not knowing it will be their last. Not knowing they are in their last week, their last year. The countdown on. To go suddenly would be best I think, here one second, then gone, not aware of what happened to you. Probably a very good idea to have one's affairs in order in case it happens, with clear instructions left, just so it's easier for everyone, especially dependents. How easy would it be to not have a funeral I wonder.
02/06 Direct Link
Today I rode on the M5 on my retro bike, wicker basket and all. I must have looked like a bit of a weirdo. I was in a group on normal bikes wearing bike gear. One bike had a trailer though, we were a bit of a motley crew so I was not exactly the only odd one out, well I guess I really was. Not that I cared, nor do I think they cared. It was my first cycling in a group experience. There were only four of us. I worked much harder than I usually do keeping up!
02/07 Direct Link
The three hens are Isa Browns, bred for high egg production. We have, in order of pecking, Henrietta (Red), Vivienne and Mildred. Most days I find three lovely eggs in the nesting boxes. They are medium sized and reddish-brown, with some white in the feathers at the back of the neck. Red has no white, hence her name. She is a beautiful reddish golden-brown. They perch on everything they can in the back yard, but won't perch in their coop. I should have shown them how when they were younger. I am not sure they ever will now.
02/08 Direct Link
The tiny kitten stood outside the door trembling and mewling. The mother cat walked quickly over and picked it up by the scruff and walked, head and tail high, to the window ledge. She jumped up and climbed inside the open window. Depositing the kitten with its brothers and sisters in the open bureau drawer, she climbed in and curled up around them. When they were fed and settled she climbed out of the drawer and cautiously explored the house. She found some scraps on the table in the kitchen and the promising smell of mouse behind the skirting board.
02/09 Direct Link
The puppies tumbled and played on the neatly manicured lawn while Lady looked on contentedly from the plaid rug. Her ears pricked up as the telephone began to ring. The household were all inside, and she waited for the onslaught of the three young children. Presently the door opened and all three burst out into the garden with Father following closely behind. "Mind the pups," he called as they ran to the puppies who had by now stopped playing and fallen asleep in the sun. "To the car, quickly, Mother is waiting at the station!" Lady watched them drive away.
02/10 Direct Link
The Goldfinch notes. These things don't happen to anybody. Disbelief in what is put in front of us, but we want it to work out, we want him to survive. Life is one big accident and all we do is reel from one thing to another, surviving as best we can. How do we measure success? By how many things we own, by the permanency of what we own. If we can look after ourselves we need not bother anyone else. All people are flawed, and the most flawed is you, yourself. You know yourself like no one else does.
02/11 Direct Link
I have finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I read some reviews and found some of them very bad. I can't understand that. The writing alone is a joy and I didn't mind at all the enormous amount of detail provided for even the most minor character. I thought luck played a huge part in the life of the protagonist. The story was quite outlandish but I did not care. I thought all would be well and when it did not seem like it would be, what do you know, someone saves the day again. Yes, a lot of luck.
02/12 Direct Link
February 12 will always be a special day for me. Today I have a holiday as well. I do some shopping. It is hot and terribly humid! That's February for you. Having been away for four days it is good to see the chooks, cats and everyone. Most special of all, by bedroom. I love my bedroom. Three sleep-in days in a row. Bliss. I cook a cake. It breaks in half coming out of the tin but it doesn't matter. It is delicious and holds the birthday candles. We order home delivered Chinese for dinner, a bit extravagant.
02/13 Direct Link
I decide to read lots of books this year and so far I am off to a good start. Pick up Helen Garner's This House of Grief at the airport. It is the story of the murder trial of a man found guilty of driving his car into a dam and his three sons drowning. The terribly sad subject matter is depicted clearly and concisely. The courtroom descriptions, vignettes of life outside and historical events surrounding the event are delicately interlaced until the summary of the murderer's final appeal lost, and the final word is given to the children's mother.
02/14 Direct Link
One of my favourite zines is called Valentine's Day. I read it again today. It is sad and poignant story written by a son about his mother. It is in black and white on thick glossy paper, quite small, A6 folded length wise. I have not visited the Zine shop (Sticky) in Melbourne for ages. I should go next time I am there, especially as I see my Melbourne visits from now on as rare and spasmodic. The recent trip threw out my new routine and so I see even more reasons to cut out the traveling for a while.
02/15 Direct Link
I have purchased six chairs. I was after chairs with metal legs for durability. I chose replica Jean Prouvé Standard Chairs, designed in 1934. The replica (made in China) has veneer although you can buy them with solid wood for five times the price (Germany). My chairs have black legs and walnut veneer seat and back. They were designed for a university cafeteria and are reminiscent of school chairs. They are comfortable but a little high for the antique table. The table is made of similar-looking wood, could be solid walnut. Not sure if walnut is used for tables.
02/16 Direct Link
I have finished watching The Missing - the show I thought was only six episodes but was eight. I am very glad I reaslised my error and watched all eight episodes. It could have ended at six, it made sense in a way. The real ending, at episode eight, was obviously intended that the story could continue. But there won't be another series of this story. That meant it was vaguely unsatisfying, and I found the false ending of episode six more satisfying, because there was a more definite presumption of what had happened. All said though, what an excellent production.
02/17 Direct Link
My Wednesday night movie this week was the Coen brother's Hail Caesar. It was very strange, I think even by their standards, but perhaps not, perhaps no more strange! The story involved many movies within the movie, and some real action shot as if were a movie. I think I need to see it again. The movie sequences introduced the characters and in one case that was all that introduced the character before he was seen later. It was pretty brilliant. He was also the one who acted in the real life scene. His scenes were all movies within movie.
02/18 Direct Link
Frank was on the cusp of a new venture. He gazed out the window. The overcast sky cast a pallor on the street which made his mood somber. He hoped he was doing the right thing leaving his secure, well paid job at the bank for what some said was a foolhardy venture. The millions he had embezzled would set him in good stead, and only he knew, would also guarantee the success of project. He had made bad choices long ago and there was nothing to do now but continue. There was no longer a right thing to do.
02/19 Direct Link
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood is fairy story for modern times. All the usual suspects are there including a princess, a prince or two, valiant knights, an evil regime. There is even a happy ending of sorts.

The dystopian horror story takes a back seat to the unity of the man and wife and their ongoing survival against the ordinariness of existence. Is it better to have choices or to not have choices? How often do we give up our choices even though it means we also give up our values (although not often as extreme as here).
02/20 Direct Link
I like fewer choices. I prefer the supermarket with one or two lines of the one product, rather than the usual scores of options. Perhaps I have always understood too much choice wears you out. Perhaps I am just lazy. Does having so many choices in this modern world rob us of time for more important things? Not that that is the reason behind so much choice... the reason for much choice is for people to make more money, but does it rob us of time and it does provide a handy diversion to what the robbers are up to.
02/21 Direct Link
I went to A Day on the Green at the Hunter Valley for the first time. It was a hot and humid day followed by a lovely evening. The threatened thunder storms and rain passed us by. The line up was Natalia Imbruglia, Tina Arena and Simply Red. I had a great time and loved them all. The concert went very quickly which I don't find is usually the case, so I must have been enjoying it. Our seats were very close, closer than I have ever been at a concert without being squashed against the stage. A great day.
02/22 Direct Link
My latest book (reading, not writing) was Once Upon a Time in Melbourne, the other book picked up at the airport. I read it in two or three days. Voracious reading... what took me away from you for so long. Written by journalist Liam Houlihan, it begins in the early part of the twenty first century and progresses to recent times... the saga still goes on. Corrupt police, misguided police, crooks and politicians (all of the above). Houlihan artfully introduces each section with a more ancient history of Melbourne streets, back to the gold rush days and pre-white settlement.
02/23 Direct Link
Jinxy had always blamed her father for her insecurities. Perhaps he was the cause, perhaps not. If not, he certainly did feed them and kept them alive. She tried to please him for years, hoping for a little praise. Now she no longer bothers. He still makes her feel bad about herself. She would like to delve a little and find out what he really thinks but he clams up whenever important conversation comes up. He only talks about changes in the town, who's married, who's had kids, often people she doesn't even know. As if they matter to Jinxy.
02/24 Direct Link
I saw The Finest Hours at my movie club. The convenor told us to fasten our seatbelts as we were in for quite a ride, and he was spot on. Based on a true story it tells the tale of the the most daring rescue mission undertaken by the U.S. Coast Guard to this day. It is the only movie I have seen based at sea, as it were, and it was gripping from start to finish. I found the love story a bit disappointingly Disney - perhaps that's the word. Overall smashing and I'd like to see it again.
02/25 Direct Link
So how should I play it. Should I fawn and apologise and try to mask any passive-aggressive vibe that may leak out. Should I go with sarcasm? (No.) Should I play the high-card and hit them with both barrels? Should I do nothing, if nothing has been done. One thing I have decided to do is quit. Any other action is incidental to that form of protest. There is nothing like deciding to leave a bad relationship. It's all give by me and take by them! Good riddance and here is to a Happy Monday. C'est la vie.
02/26 Direct Link
fooneeral not see long time or v.long time. Funeral. lonely plot everyone leaves, the one who has departed not there too. only the earthly remains. Vanity apparent in the huge crypts of the Italian families. Human folly and the absurd. Oh, how absurd. Necropolis. Sydney cemeteries alleged to be affected by peak hour rush. Prejudices and misinformation, where would we be without them. What would we talk about. Whom would we blame. Anybody but ourselves, conveniently. Tattoo the truth on their foreheads. Or walk away and not give a shit what anyone thinks. What these people think doesn't matter.
02/27 Direct Link
Riding a bicycle is one of the most fun things to do. I can't ride up steep hills. I hope I can with more practice. In the beginning I found any hill a challenge. I feel more at home now on the bike and less self-conscious. I prefer to ride on bike tracks and quite roads. I ride on the footpath rather than main roads. Today I walked it through the shops and up the long steady climb toward home, then I rode the last bit down hill. There were two police bikes at the bike shop. Uh oh.
02/28 Direct Link
She padded outside and up the street. A possum ran across her path, up a tree and down under a car. Further along a little cat bounded across the road counting on pot luck to avoid cars. She hoped she would not be around if an animal got hit. She walked down the hill intending to walk along the river and loop around toward home. She thought the sun would be up by now, but considered turning back when it was still so dark that if she did not know the way she could not see well enough to continue.
02/29 Direct Link
I am reading a book where female ex-army officer "Gunderson" is nicknamed "Gunny". That seems oddly soft to me. If she were Australian it would more likely be "Gundo" which is much meatier. Other nicknames in the book are "A-Rod" and "J-Rod". That doesn't sit well with me either - is that a military thing? Perhaps it is the author's technique of having the characters address each other in conversation using their nicknames that seems false. I think in reality they would not use nicknames or names at all other than in the initial greeting. Good book though.