how many ways can you get yourself some culture?

26 02 2011

After a busy week for both of us it was time for a break, time-out, culture day. We headed up to Melbourne early in the morning and enjoyed seeing the Altocumulus (mackerel sky) clouds from the freeway. An easy drive up compared with the usual busy weekday traffic.

Mackerel sky

First stop the NGV Melbourne for a look at the Gustav Moreau exhibition. A great collection of work from a prolific painter & drawer. He had a thing for the old mythical dramas and had mixed up his painting style with drawing, paint (both oil & acrylic), & etching to crate a mashup type style (which brought out the critics). Also caught the Luminous Cities exhibition of photos of the built environment from the 19th through to the 20th century. Some nice old black & white photos of Rome that brought back memories of our visits there.

Headed off for a coffee and a raspberry muffin and came across the Little Bookroom (their new store) in Degraves Street. Nice shop with lovely books (for kids) and some expensive collectors items… It was interesting to compare this book business with the mega Borders & Angus & Robertson chains, and to think about the different business models. Seems one might be more successful than the other. Note to self: must check out the original Little Bookroom store in Nicholson Street some time. Then we had a quick stop of at the South Melbourne markets before heading home.

Pako paella

Then is was out to the multicultural Pako Festa – we were too late to see the parade this year. Lots of people out enjoying the afternoon with ethnic dress, food and performances making for a lively saunter down the street. Last year the kids all had silly string, but this year it was air horns and vuvuzelas (more noise – but not as messy). The Spanish were very busy dishing up (and making more) paella, and the pubs were filled to bursting. It’s great to see this festival is alive and well. All up a busy day, but great to spend time absorbing some culture.

Summer holidays – a gift you don’t have to wrap

15 01 2011

Just back into that other dimension of regular life (and work) after a couple of (very relaxing) weeks spent in the bush. This summer, down on Cape Otway, we managed to have a wonderful time enjoying a life at a different pace with no pressures or timetables. What a gift to pause (stop doing some things) and indulge yourself in (sort of selfish) simple pleasures. Forest walks, beach strolls, reading, talking, eating & drinking, and even doing basic chores, make for a very refreshing time. A bit like chicken soup – good for the soul.


Good food featured quite a bit this year with puddings, soups, coq au vin, and roasts being crafted in the camp oven and wok. We were even able to quaff some home brewed beer which was brought down & chilled. There’s definitely something special about cooking & eating outdoors.


The Koala’s have been busy finding ways to circumvent the polycarbonite bands I put around the trees. They climb up other trees & jump across as well as using the pads on their feet (rather than claws) to scrabble over the slippery surface. Looks like I’ll have to add another band to make it harder if I want to keep them from eating all the leaves & killing the trees. Also lots of birds, king parrots, wrens, cockatoos, kookaburras, magpies, wattlebirds etc. as well as a couple of different wallabies. Fun to hear the young birds practising their calls & generally squawking a lot in an attempt to get a free freed from mum & dad.

So, now have been back at work for a week and trying hard to keep the work/life balance in order – we’ll see how we go…

PS. Looks like I’m going to have to invest in MarsEdit – works a treat…

off and running for 2009, but making headway?

18 01 2009

Dear reader, it’s been a while, the postings haven’t been very regular, and it is that dreamy, lazy time between years, but I thought I’d better make start on my blog for 2009. Hopefully with this beginning I’ll feel like I making some headway. 

On the home front, we’ve had a great holiday with two weeks down on Cape Otway. Nice weather and great to spend time with the family – had the boys down, Dad & Emmy (who had done a bit of a road trip and driven down from Qld), brother Andy and family, as well as Trynda, James & Samuel. Enjoyed sitting around in the bush and relaxing. I even managed to read a couple of (largish) novels – Snow Crash by Neal Stepheson and Matter by Iain M Banks, both science fiction. Also trips to the beach (picnic at Blanket Bay for Christmas day), walks through the forest and some hard yakka cleaning up around the place. Came back to go to work and then went back to the bush for weekend to chat to a tree lopper as we’re getting closer to building and need to clear a few more trees. Don’t really like doing this, but we need to make way for a house and make sure nothing will fall on it later. Highlights obviously the weather, food, drink, books and company, as well as spotting a couple of Twany Frogmouths hunting in the dark – very cool. Overall and excellent adventure and good for the soul.












And now it’s mid January already! I’m finding that a little difficult to comprehend but it’s true. I’ve been back at work for two weeks and gradually getting up to speed. There aren’t a lot of people around (it’s good time for academics to get their recreation leave entitlements down) and students don’t come back on campus till second week of March. Well, that’s not completely true. We’re running a Tri-semester 3 (instead of a Summer semester) and have quite a few students doing that but they are mostly off campus. Things for me so far have meant getting ready for Tri-semester 1 and covering the fort till other support staff come back from leave. So, been dealing with some business and catching up with people after the break. Looking forward to doing some writing and research this year and thinking about a research question that might sustain me during the time it would take to do a PhD…











So, that’s fairly up to date with a fair bit of computer tinkering over this weekend. New operating systems on three laptops and restoring software applications and data. Wendy’s HDD failed and I needed to go to 10.5 and then Reubs wanted to as well. I suppose we’ll find out the week what we still need to do when things don’t work or we can’t find something. Oh, and we’re saying goodbye to Ash as he heads back to Europe for a while (at least 9 Months). He be heading to France (Lyon) to catch up with Pip who is studying there. It will be cold. We might be heading over that way too, and spend some Euros on the continent later in the year – we’ll see how things pan out.

dinner parties

7 06 2008

Its late on Saturday evening and I’m feeling fine (the Cats have won again). Now that’s two nights in a row of nice dinners and pleasant conversation. It’s probably been a while since we’ve actually been able to do that. It’s been good to sit around the table with family and friends and enjoy each other’s company while taking our time over a nice curry last night and an african bobotie this evening. Also enjoyed a Warrenmang white (2004 Bazzani Chardonnay) and red (2005 Bazzani Shiraz Cabernet) with affogato for desert. Getting some shuteye will be next and a slow Saturday is on the cards….

Anyway, all this got me thinking about conversation/s and how they work and I reckon they play a key role in how well the evening goes. It all depends on the people sitting around the table and what stories they’ve got to tell. A lot depends on what experiences people have had and how often they may be able to add to or enhance and develop the conversation. Have you ever sat back and wondered just how much you might be able to control the ebb and flow of the talk for a whole evening? It might take some energy and some planing but I reckon it might just be possible. It could actually be fun, enough of a temptation for you to try it sometime?

good intentions

13 03 2008

wow, that got away from me a bit.a week away and very little time (and absolutely crap internet connections) ensured I didn’t get round to making a regular contribution to these rambles. I was aiming to keep my dear readers informed of my adventures over in Malaysia, but I didn’t happen. I did write a bit but couldn’t get it posted, so there you go. bits and pieces may appear in future posts.

anyway, adventures were had, good company was kept, work was done, impressions were made, shopping was undertaken, and food was eaten. A red eye flight home, so a couple of days to catch up on the sleep. The elections were held in Malaysia the day we left and the country had quite a carnival air to it the week before, with so much bunting and posters etc. it looked worse than a second hand car lot. it was obviously time for a change (considering the result), but the people we spoke to were keeping quiet about their voting intentions – I wonder why? so, they’ve had a change (for the better I hope) and life will no doubt go on.

our hosts were as wonderful as always and treated us to some wonderful food, be it Chinese, Malay or Indian (although one night the Indian was a bit dodgy – maybe a bit too late in the evening) or the huge smorgasbord breakfasts in the hotels (hmm, ordering an omelet made to order is fun). Lots of seafood (prawns, snails, crab, fish etc.) and chicken, pork, rice & noodles. I think they were surprised at our ability (and genuine desire) to eat their ‘spicy’ dishes. Nothing was hotter than what I’ve eaten at home…

Our work was useful and will support the continuance of the program. It was good to see familiar faces again. We were guest or honour at a convocation/graduation ceremony and sat through two and half hours of procedure done in a foreign language. It was actually quite nice and broken up by some musical interludes/performance (choir and gamelan orchestra).

a week in another (exotic) world/place can make home look a little boring, but it’s very nice to here.