Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
1. Some relationships are meant to to be kept secret.
2. The Cure at Rod Laver Arena in August '07 is the last concert I saw; it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
3. Spring should be here in about 6 months.
4. Oh no! I forgot to take the washing off the line and it's raining!
5. I've recently started photographing reflections of anything and everything.
6. Good photography never fails to make me smile.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a couple of quiet ones in front of the TV, tomorrow my plans include work and then watching the Saints win and Sunday, I want to make it to work without a hangover!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Today a customer brought in Ken Follett's World Without End. It's the sequel to Pillars of the Earth which I read years ago and loved. This appears to be set 200 years down the track after the building of the cathedral. Naturally I've snaffled this to read before it goes on the shelf. :)
Monday, March 24, 2008
Antony and Cleopatra is as much about the rise of Octavian as it is about Antony and Cleopatra.
There is nothing flattering in this portrait of two people trying desperately to hang on to power.
Antony is portrayed as a man plagued by doubt, lazy, a supreme procrastinator. He has a chronic inability to pay attention to important details and suffers from a fairly major drinking problem, which he manages to control at times but succumbs completely to when it all gets too hard. He is a man who can win battles but not the war.
Cleopatra is portrayed as a tiny, ugly woman completely consumed by her ambition to make her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion, King of Kings. King of the World. That Caesarion doesn't want this and is more than happy to settle for being Pharaoh of Egypt is ignored by his mother with disastrous results.
The relationship between Antony and Cleopatra begins as one of mutual need. He needs her money to pay for his campaigns in the east. She needs his influence in Rome and is prepared to back him in order to topple Octavian and, thereby, clear the way for Caesarion.
They do, eventually, fall in love but by then it's all too late. Both end up committing suicide. The way McCullough details the declining psychological state of both Antony and Cleopatra, particularly as their respective ambitions are thwarted time and time again, is wonderfully done.
Octavian, meanwhile, slowly but surely turns Rome against Antony. He comes across as a master of propaganda, of spin. He uses Antony's relationship with Cleopatra, who he dubs the Queen of Beasts, to destroy Antony's reputation as a true Roman. He eventually meets Caesarion in Egypt and murders him on the spot. He recognises that Caesarion, the spitting image of his father, cannot be allowed to enter Rome as the people would accept him immediately as the true heir of his father (Octavian is Caesar's son by adoption only). Julius Caesar has, by this time, been raised to the status of a god. If the people of Rome were exposed to the god's son they would bestow on him the same status. Cleopatra's ambitions would be fulfilled. The emphasis, though, is that Octavian is working always for the greater good of Rome, not for his own personal power. That he attains supreme power in the end is a bonus rather than a fulfilment of desire. According to McCullough anyway.
The series spans seven, very large, books. The First Man in Rome tells the story of Gaius Marius, the outsider who revolutionised the structure of the Roman army. He does become the First Man but is never fully accepted by the Roman establishment. The Grass Crown details the rise of Cornelius Sulla to First Man status. A complete reprobate. Fortune's Favourites, Caesar's Women, Caesar and The October Horse chronicle the rise and ultimate fall of Gaius Julius Caesar from childhood to assassination. Truly one of the giants of history. Antony and Cleopatra brings the Roman Republic to an end with the rise of Octavian to the position of Rome's first emperor, Augustus.
It's a fascinating story.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Australians very rarely march. We are, as a rule, apathetic about everything except the hip pocket and the football. There are, obviously, the groups who demonstrate about a particular cause, usually environmental, but they're small and infrequent. There's a yearly march on April 25th to remember the war dead and the occasional union march when the government is being particularly stupid.
But, on the whole, we're a couldn't care less nation.
The last time I can remember seeing a march of a religious nature was way back in early 1960s Liverpool when I was less than 12. My nanna was in the Orange Lodge and they marched every year to celebrate something that I've now forgotten, but it was all to do with the victory of the Proddies over the Catlics. What I haven't forgotten is the prejudice. It's ingrained in me to such an extent that no amount of education or rational thought can eradicate it. I hate the Catholic church and that's a fact.
The irony of that is that I consider myself to be an educated, rational, tolerant person. I abhor racism, sexism, all the isms (except that one). I cannot stand fundamentalism of any kind. Yet, I have this ingrained prejudice that I cannot shake. Fortunately, I'm educated and old enough now not to act on it. When I was younger it was a different story.
And it stems from my upbringing in a deeply divided city. Divided along religious lines - catlic and proddy.
And I learned that divisiveness from watching people march for an idea, a religious belief.
The footage I saw from today disturbed me because it was exactly what I used to see all those years ago. Just one brand of flag, one brand of speaker, one point of view.
There is nothing more divisive. Nothing.
Because the differences are all in the detail. God, Allah, Jehovah - all the same, there's no dispute on that. It's the detail that people march, argue, fight, kill about. Pointless really. Completely pointless.
Just to elabotate the religious divide and how it can spread I've lifted this from a blog from Baghdad:
The Great Wall of Segregation...
…Which is the wall the current Iraqi government is building (with the support and guidance of the Americans). It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad- let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protect' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis.
The wall, of course, will protect no one. I sometimes wonder if this is how the concentration camps began in Europe. The Nazi government probably said, "Oh look- we're just going to protect the Jews with this little wall here- it will be difficult for people to get into their special area to hurt them!" And yet, it will also be difficult to get out.
The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently- Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacious and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer- like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of "Shia areas" and Shia out of "Sunni areas".
I always hear the Iraqi pro-war crowd interviewed on television from foreign capitals (they can only appear on television from the safety of foreign capitals because I defy anyone to be publicly pro-war in Iraq). They refuse to believe that their religiously inclined, sectarian political parties fueled this whole Sunni/Shia conflict. They refuse to acknowledge that this situation is a direct result of the war and occupation. They go on and on about Iraq's history and how Sunnis and Shia were always in conflict and I hate that. I hate that a handful of expats who haven't been to the country in decades pretend to know more about it than people actually living there.
I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn't know what our neighbors were- we didn't care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.
Brought the geeetar with me and plan on making some noise later :) Haven't messed with it in soooo long. I'll end up with "blisters on my fingers". (Who said that at the end of which song??)
Brought the laptop too but it won't connect on Bronnie's system, different ISP I suppose. So I'm using her computer and am finding it really hard to type on a proper keyboard!
Thirteen Days is on TV later tonight. There's a fair chance I might watch it. Bronnie has one of those HUGE widescreen TVs :)
Work as usual tomorrow but Sunday is yet another family gathering. This time for Georgia who turns 15 on Monday. FIFTEEN! Gawd, she was only a child yesterday. Got 15tons of attitude too. Ah, the joys of teenagerhood.
Interesting post over at the Snapery about Barack Obama. Go read it if you haven't already. There's a link there to a speech he made about race in the USA. Very interesting. I'd vote for him on the basis of that speech I think. If I were eligible that is.
Anyway, the sun's well and truly over the yardarm so I'm off to open a bottle of something.
Happy Easter :)
Oh oh oh, I keep forgetting - on April 6th Clare and I are going to a Conversation with Nick Cave. He'll be there talking about his music and answering questions from the audience. Singing a song or two as well. There's also a photographic exhibition about the man at the Arts Centre so we're going to that first. Exciting!!
I think I might ask him about the silly facial hair!
1. Travel is so exciting!
2. Strawberry fields forever.
3. Right now, anything edible sounds like it would taste delicious!
4. Why does Flickr make me feel so good?!
5. The Mona Lisa is something I've always wanted to see.
6. It's sad when the bottle is empty.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to babysitting a friend's house, tomorrow my plans include work then babysitting again and Sunday, I want to see the family at Georgia's birthday (15!!!!) dinner!
Here's the place to play
Friday, March 21, 2008
How about 13 random books sitting on the desk. You can tell me if you've read any of them and whether they're any good.
1. Trunk Music - Michael Connelly
2. Knights of the Black and White - Jack Whyte
3. The Husband - Dean Koontz.
4. Area 7 - Matthew Reilly
5. A Question of Blood - Ian Rankin
6. The Boer War - Winston Churchill
7. Moonlight Becomes You - Mary Higgins Clark
8. Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens
9. The Station-Master's Daughter - Pamela Oldfield
10. Dark Hollow - John Connolly
11. Not Safe After Dark - Peter Robinson
12. Into a Dark Realm - Raymond E Feist (forget this one, sold already.)
13. Servant of the Bones - Anne Rice
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Watched Children of Men on DVD last night. Not bad. I don't normally like Clive Owen all that much but he's pretty good in this. Michael Caine does an excellent job as the old hippy guy. His scenes were the best parts of the film I think :)
Actually, the best bit was when the Clive Owen character looked out of a window over Battersea power station, complete with the Pink Floyd pig flying above it, a la the Animals album.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Anyway, after dinner were the speeches. George spoke at length about the school and the state of education in general. He kept referring to what had happened to me and how wrong that was. Then he apologised, on behalf of himself and the staff, to me for not having the guts to stand up and resist what was happening. He apologised for allowing the fucking arsehole to get away with harrassing me out of the job. Of course I burst into tears. There were a lot of sheepish looking faces around the room at that point. Afterwards I got lots of pats on the back and hugs. A couple of people admitted to feeling guilty about it all. It was just a really nice moment to know that the people who mattered knew that I hadn't really done anything wrong, certainly nothing that all of them haven't done too. I'd always had this suspicion that people believed I'd gone "bad" and that I deserved what happened. It's nice to know that's not the case.
Just a shame that they didn't stand up and be counted when it mattered.
But then I wouldn't be sitting here doing this - swings and roundabouts I guess.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
2. The parties hereto do mutually agree to disagree.
3. Disney parks are places I'll probably never visit.
4. A cigarette sounds really good right about now!
5. I positively am, right here, right now.
6. Flickr, particularly this group, always makes me smile :-)
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to meeting up with a bunch of people I used to work with, tomorrow my plans include work as usual and Sunday, I want to keep cool. Stinking hot weather all weekend!
The place to be.
Friday, March 14, 2008
* Link to the person who tagged you - that'd be Maribeth.
* Post the rules here - DONE!
* Share 7 random or weird facts about yourself - see below.
* Tag 7 random people at the end of the post, linking to them.
* Leave a comment on their blog so that they know they’ve been tagged.
1. I'm trying, trying, trying to quit smoking.
2. After 41 years of living in Australia I'm still a British citizen.
3. I lost my virginity at 15.
4. Pictionary is currently my favourite game.
5. I have a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics from Melbourne University.
6. I used to teach History, now I sell books.
7. Music is what keeps me sane.
Tag yourself if you want to play along.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday - Much cooler, thankfully. I went out to Warburton to pick up Georgia after school. Clare got home much earlier than she'd anticipated so, really, I didn't need to be there. Anyway, Clare and I left Georgia on myspace and took their two dogs for a walk along the aquaduct. Six kilometres! My old-aged hip gave out towards the end. About 4 kms would've been okay but the last two killed me. Haha, old Tash trotted the whole way quite happily. Made me feel bad 'cos I struggled. Took millions of photos, of course, which will no doubt show up on Flickr over the next few days.
Back at work today :(
Monday, March 10, 2008
Meanwhile, I'm just a touch hungover today. Still struggling with the no smoking. One day at a time is my new philosophy. No long term plans, just one day at a time. I can do one day. Then I can do another one day, then another one day, ad infinitum. Simple really.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
2. One of my favorite things on my desk or bureau is hahahahaha, that'd be the books. Hundreds of them at the moment.
3. Japanese Cherry Blossom makes a nice ornamental tree.
4. Anywhere it's quiet is my favorite place to sit and read.
5. Vodka and Tia Maria together in a Black Russian is delicious!
6. I love to watch Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett in movies.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to nothing much at all, tomorrow my plans include watching the Saints play in and win the NAB Cup final and Sunday, I want to make it through a smoke free weekend!
Friday, March 07, 2008
I even made the tomato sauce from scratch - very finely chopped onions and garlic (think I used 3 cloves), whole bunch of very ripe chopped tomatoes, rosemary, sage, basil, parsley (all fresh, chopped), black pepper, red wine, teaspoon of sugar. Cooked the onion and garlic first then just threw everything else in and cooked it on low heat till the tomatoes had fallen apart and the liquids had cooked down. Can't have it too sloppy.
Pan fried the chicken breasts till just about done then put them in a shallow oven dish. Covered each one with cheese (type doesn't matter but it needs to be a good melting cheese) and then with the tomato sauce. Then into the oven till the chicken's cooked through and the cheese has melted.
To do it properly the chicken should be crumbed first but I didn't bother.
Oven baked chips (ie, roast potatoes cut thin and long) and a bit of green salad. Voila.
One of these days I might even take a picture - it never occurs to me to photograph food.
Smoke free today and feeling quite okay about it. Yesterday was shitty but today's been alright. The shop's not doing well though. Barely making ends meet this month. It's a worry. *sigh*
Today's reject Phone shot - a reflection of the TV. Guess what DVD I was watching :)
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Almost a whole packet - what was left went in the bin this morning.
Ha, I nearly, nearly, nearly went and retrieved them when I found I had no internet today. Finally got email this afternoon and then the rest started working at about 2:30. No blog, no Flickr. Oh yeah, couldn't do any updates for work either.
Anyway, I've hauled myself back on to the wagon today. Feel like shit of course. My own fault.
I just can't be trusted out alone!
Here's a reject Phone shot just to change the subject. Mum's flowers of course.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
This particular coffee is my current favourite. Organic and fair trade. Tastes mighty fine too. Can't go wrong.
- Chemical :: Romance, My
- Poker :: face
- Federal :: government
- Mattress :: bed
- Who am I? :: Where am I? How did I get here? Who are you?
- Investigation :: inquiry
- In good hands :: wish I was
- 8:30 :: time to go to work.
- Creditors :: Go Away!
- Resource :: ful
My baby sister turns something or other today.
Family dinner last night in honour (and for brother Pete's b'day last week). I'm happy to say I made it through the weekend smoke-free. Nephew James has given up too (again). It was the first smoke-free family gathering in forever.
Monday, March 03, 2008
These aren't strictly from my bit of town. but what the hell.
The first one is the Seville butcher, near ma'n'pa's place. I think you've all seen this one before.
This one is from Phillip Island. I like the little guy falling off the cliff.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
It just shows what a morass of self-pity I was in yesterday, I completely forgot that the Saints were playing last night. And play they did. Beat the Bombers by 3 points. Woohoo, that puts them into the NAB Cup final. Yeah!
Laurie cooked last night so it was Burnt Offerings on the menu. Then he went off to the pub for "one with the boys". Kylie was home so we sat and watched the footy. I very nearly had one of her ciggies but she only had a few left so I didn't. She offered me one later on. No thank you. *pats self on back*
By half time in the game I was a bit less than sober so it's a wonder that I did say no. By then I'd run out of red so I watched the rest of the game from the safety of my bed.
I'm here to tell you that not smoking has absolutely no effect on the quality of hangovers. Ugh.
Anyway, I have to go see a phone about a photo.....
Saturday, March 01, 2008
2. I don't handle not smoking or stupid people very well.
3. Bread is something I could eat every day.
4. Warmth and sunlight are on their way out.
5. Insanity here I come!
6. I do not like tattoo(s).
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a black hole swallowing me up, tomorrow my plans include eh? and Sunday, I want to go to Clare's b'day dinner and be cheerful!
Laurie's cousin and her 5 y o brat were over for dinner. If either of them had a thought in their heads it'd be lonely.
You know what's coming, dontcha.
I only smoked half of it then threw it away. Locked myself in my room for the rest of the night. The upside of that was that episode 3 of series 2 of Life on Mars was on TV. I would've missed it if I'd stayed up and pretended to be sociable.
I really noticed last night that there are two voices in my head. One tells me "No, don't do it." The other tells me "Fuck 'em, it'll make you feel better."
I'm thinking I might get a lobotomy, (a) to get rid of that second voice and (b) to reduce me to the level where I can converse with these people comfortably.
Mood today is pissed off.