Sunday, November 19, 2006

goose steps in

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'll wake up one morning and find a goose on my bed if I'm not careful. Zelda the goose who lives in my back yard has started showing a wish to get into the house. Twice in one morning I discovered her standing in the back door, apparently considering her options.

Memo to self: reinforce the barrier keeping her away from the door.

Maybe she doesn't like the weather outside, which is more than a little unpredictable. Last week it was snowing on the mountain one evening, then the following day it hailed on me when I was driving home. It cleared up for Saturday - lucky for the bride at the wedding Julie attended in Richmond - but by Saturday night mist had settled over the city and it was nice and muddy when we were feeding the animals that night.

Not all the neighbours complain about Julie's animals. There's one woman who's moved in up the hill who not only enjoys seeing the horse and the poultry over the fence but has actually bought a sack of lucerne so she can feed the horse whenever he comes over to her side of the paddock!

A few more neighbours like that and Julie could save a lot of money on horse food.

I seldom go out two nights running, but this week was an exception. Friday night I was invited to a quiz night at the local RSL club; it was fun, although I think I exceeded my weekly allowance of fat, sugar and salt in one evening.

Saturday night was a special concert by the Tasmanian Song Company; under the title "Showstoppers" they presented songs from musicals ranging from HMS Pinafore to Les Miserables. A little too much Sondheim for my taste, but that's par for the course.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

limping into summer

Went out to the State Cinema to see the long-awaited movie of A Prairie Home Companion. I've been a fan of the radio show for many years and I was curious to see the film version.

Watching Garrison Keillor was strange at first. I'd experienced him only on radio or on the printed page, so actually seeing him was unsettling for a while. It almost seemed like somebody was miming to Keillor's soundtrack, even though it was obviously him on screen.

But this wore off after a few minutes and I was soon immersed in the film. It was classic Altman fare, with the rich ensemble cast making for a delightful experience. Kevin Kline was great. And seeing Meryl Streep sing a duet with Keillor was almost worth the price of admission.

Lindsay Lohan was fun as the daughter (this was the first thing I've seen her in - I don't think I'm in her target demographic).

I went to see my endocrinologist last week. After having the flu last month my exercise regimen had gone by the board. I promised to lose weight before I saw him next time, but I certainly won't be exercising this week.

When I was at Julie's house a couple of days later, I was calling her dogs in when I put my foot on a piece of pipe. My other foot was already moving me forward, so I had no hope of stopping myself from going down with a thud. I lay there for a moment, wondering how I was going to get up, since I was lying on my left arm and there was nothing I could grab with my right arm to get up with.

Fortunately my mobile phone had survived the fall and I was able to flip it open and dial my sister, who was on the other side of the property. She came to my aid and I got to my feet.

It wasn't as bad as it might have been. I was muddy and had some cuts and bruises on one knee with some gravel rash on my forearm, but overall I came through all right. After two or three days I could almost walk without a limp.

Meanwhile the flow of vet bills for Julie's animals has slowed. She had a lot of trouble giving her cat the diuretic injections for her heart problem, so the vet suggested trying drops instead.

Not a good idea! The cat really, really hated the drops. In the end, the vet came up with a compromise: inject the medication into the meat we gave the cat to eat. It worked like a charm. Both we and the cat are much happier with this arrangement.

National Novel Writing Month this year has been a bit more of a trial than I expected. After completing it last year, I thought I was half-way prepared, but the first week didn't go well. Halfway through the month I've only written 16,000 words and I'm supposed to hit the 50,000 mark by the last day of the month.

Part of it is that I'm not as fit as I was last year. I can't concentrate as well and I'm tired all the time. Let's see how I go in the next two weeks.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

o bleakness!

Some days you're afraid of the sky falling; other days you're afraid it won't.

Monday I felt really dreadful. I woke up early, exhausted from not enough sleep and just lay there worrying for some time.

I was concerned about my health, my finances, my home.... and to cap it all off, my first few days in National Novel Writing Month felt like a complete disaster.

That really disturbed me; if I was doing so much worse this year than last year, it was obviously a sign that I was so run-down I couldn't even concentrate on doing something that I loved. I must be running on empty.

I sat at the keyboard and all my ideas felt so flat and useless.

But during the afternoon, while walking Julie's dogs, I fell to musing and came up with a completely different approach. Maybe that was what I should be doing -- perhaps things weren't competely hopeless after all.

Then in the evening we went out to the Irish Association's monthly quiz night at the New Sydney Hotel and our team managed to scrape into first place by one point. A narrow margin, but we did win.

Maybe life isn't so bad after all....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

into November

Outside Edge

This month's show at The Playhouse was OUTSIDE EDGE by Richard Harris. This play was first staged in London in 1979 and went on to spawn a television spin-off that won a Writers Guild award in 1994.

It's basically a drawing room comedy, except that the drawing room is the clubrooms of a small cricket team in the home counties of England in 1980. There are five couples involved in the story, ranging from the sport-obsessed captain and his long-suffering wife to the local businessman who plays cricket to get away from his wife.

Under the capable direction of Peter McIntosh, the first-rate local cast makes great entertainment out of the witty dialogue. By the curtain, the relationships of four out of the five couples have changed forever in the course of a single afternoon.

Another good night out from Hobart Repertory Theatre Society.

Last month was the annual Royal Hobart Show and it's traditional that there's always at least one day of really dreadful weather. So guess which day we were out at the showground?

Thursday (a.k.a. People's Day) was notably fine and sunny -- ideal weather for a public holiday. As usual we waited till Friday, which used to be Family Day but is now known as Festival Friday; it rained, then it started to snow in the mountains and that night it even tried to hail.

I wasn't surprised.

We wandered about some of the attractions and ate at the lunch-room that has been operated by the same church group since 1902. Julie spent quite a while in the Fine Food Pavilion quizzing the food and wine stalls about their latest products, then we dropped in on the annual art show.

This is always full of remarkable pieces by local artists. It's never dull because there's an almost infinite number of combinations of subjects, styles and medium.

One of the organizers of the art show asked me which piece was my favorite (they were running a contest). I honestly couldn't answer -- there were just too many good pieces to choose from. It's like when people say "What's your favorite book?" or "What's your favorite movie?" What are you supposed to say...

I got an early start on the NaNoWriMo novel-writing contest. You need to do 1700 words a day minimum, 2000 is better. I managed 2050 the first day, but I had some spare time. I'll have to make sure I don't get behind -- if you have two busy days and don't write anything, that can be the end of the project.

I've been using a different word processor this time. Last year I used RoughDraft, which is quite good though it lacks a couple of useful features. AbiWord is a free word processing program more similar to Microsoft® Word and seems to work quite well.

And like RoughDraft, you can set it to save the file at regular intervals, meaning that your deathless prose won't disappear into cyberspace.

You can get it at their website
click here