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   Friday, August 01, 2003  

Daisy Bush

daisy bush

I pass this elderly woman every morning, at around 10 to 7, as I walk down Greville St. Usually she is walking with her small, round dog but today there was no dog. Instead, she was carrying an entire shrub, roots and all, in her right hand. I'm not sure what kind of bush it was exactly, as it was too dark to see it properly, but I think it may have been a daisy bush.

   posted by *mcb* at 4:25 PM


Stupid computer.
Stupid password.
Stupid Internet.
Stupid Telstra.

   posted by *mcb* at 12:05 PM


   Thursday, July 31, 2003  
diary / writing

Snail Mail

The worms were gone by the time I walked home last night, but when I went to retrieve the contents of our letter-box I found a very small snail suctioned onto the phone bill.

As I walked down the path, I thought about how I save pieces of time in the way my grandmother used to save string. At the moment, every bit, no matter how small seems to be useful, particularly when carefully knotted tp another fragment. Perhaps I'm like a gleaner of time, I decided, picking up the scraps here and there, trying to stretch them out just that bit further so that they become something useful. My MA has been entirely constructed so far on minutes cut or scraped off the end of other tasks and commitments.

The snail did not want to be removed from the phone bill, and retracted his eye-stalks sullenly when I poked at him.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:35 AM


   Wednesday, July 30, 2003  
diary / writing

Two ways to make your heart race on a Wednesday.

1. attend a lunchtime exercise class that includes running up and down three flights of stairs.

2. take a phonecall informing you that your last two rent payments have not been received.
   posted by *mcb* at 4:04 PM


I just did theWhat disgusts you quiz. Some of the ratings did not go high enough to describe the level of disgust I felt for some of the things shown.

I feel ill.
   posted by *mcb* at 9:00 AM



Wormy Walks

Two things about my walk to work this morning:

1. I realised that it must be hard for tram-drivers, having only a bell to express the wide range of emotions they must feel when dealing with the perils of the streets. I heard one tram dinging away this morning at a car that was blocking its rails, and thought what an innappropriately gentle sound it was, and how the tram driver must long for a horn.

If I were a tram driver I would take my own horn in to work with me, to use at such moments.

2. The rain brought the worms out, and I carefully stepped around them as I walked through the park. I wondered why they come out when it rains- and why they head for the pathways, and not stick to the grass. Perhaps they get washed up out of the ground and actually have no say in the matter. I thought a couple of them looked a little uncertain themselves as to what they were doing.

There were many birds in the park, too, enjoying their (slightly soggy) buffet breakfast. Mostly magpies, but also a number of those faux magpies, which I think are called piping shrikes.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:48 AM



Pointless Quizzes

Reading last week's Australian IT section I cam across a link to a quiz on the BBC science site that told me that I have a female brain, which is based on the fact that I'm good at recognising patterns and colours but not so good at rotating 3d objects in my head (now why would I ever want to do that anyway, I ask?)

Then I did another quiz on face perception that confirmed that I find male faces more attractive than females.

I haven't yet tried the quiz on what disgusts me but we'll see how things go today.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:39 AM




Boynton has posted a link to a wonderful online game made with flash. No instructions are provided, so it's a matter of pointing and clicking until you discover the chain of events that will allow you to move onto the next screen.

(One for you cousin, Vlado.)
   posted by *mcb* at 8:27 AM


   Tuesday, July 29, 2003  
I've just spent the morning wondering why a spelling bee is called a spelling bee.
And I can't get on to Google.
It's a disaster.
   posted by *mcb* at 11:53 AM




Well, yesterday I said that Capturing the Friedmans was the best thing I've seen at the MIFF, but we have a new winner.

Spellbound is the best thing I've seen in ages, and I highly recommend seeing it. I went in thinking I would enjoy it in that "be appalled by the pushiness of ambitious parents forcing their kids into things they don't want to do" kind of way. And there were definitely some pushy parents. But there were also some parents who seemed utterly astonished by the driving ambition of their kids.

Many of the competitors were the children of migrants, and a number of them said that competing in the National Spelling bee was important to them because it represented the educational opportunities available to them that their parents hadn't had. And the parents saw it as justification for their decision to emmigrate. One parent in particular was bountiful in his praise of America, saying that unlike in India, anyone could succeed if they worked hard enough (yadda yadda). It seemed like a significant moment when his child was asked to spell "darjeeling", and had clearly never heard of the word.

It's a great film. I was completely drawn into the competition and each time one of the kids bombed out it was heart-breaking. And they are amazing at what they do. Admittedly, it is a mathematical approach to word construction rather than a delight in words themselves that helps them succeed, but it is extrodinary to see kids spelling words they can barely pronounce. Frightening.

It's screening again as part of the festival on Sunday August 3rd at 5 pm at Village cinema and I would definitely suggest seeing it.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to go home and read the dictionary.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:43 AM


   Monday, July 28, 2003  

Festival Burnout

Spent a lot of the weekend standing in queues outside various Melbourne cinemas, then racing to the next one, to stand in another queue outside another cinema. The Film Festival is not a relaxing thing, I find. It's actually quite stressful. I don't think it's just me. Other people in the queues seemed stressed out to.

I saw Naked World on Friday night which was good. However, I was disappointed that I didn't recognise a single person in the Melbourne section of the film. It was funny to see your home town in such a context. It is hard, when watching something like this, not to start generalising about a country's attitudes based on a few edited statements from a few people- the Russians seemed very informed about modern art and interested in Tunick's work, the French seemed snobby and unhelpful. And we Australians came across seeming like we thought Tunick was a bit of a nutbag, but we'd give it a go anyway.

So odd, too, to see all those soft pink bodies gingerly stepping down city streets. As my companion said "They look like aliens." Aliens or baby mice.

The best thing I've seen so far has been Capturing the Friedmans. I initially didn't want to see this, as it sounded so harrowing, but Petite saw it and said it was good. And it is, although it really does leave you feeling very confused. Just as you think you've worked out exactly what went on, another piece of information comes to light and leaves you just as unsure as you were at the start. In the end, you realise that you can't look at it in a polarised black and white kind of way- it's too complicated to do this. And ultimately, it's terribly sad. There's a website for the film, too, which has some interesting comments from people who have seen the film, including one by a person who attended the computer classes where the attacks allegedly took place.

Seeing Spellbound this evening, which appeals immensely, although I'm not sure why.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:47 AM


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