Who would have ever thought of synchronised dancing on treadmills. The band Ok go did somehow. See it for yourself. They make it look easy but I bet it isn’t.
Archives for September 2006
On this day five years ago, 2996 people lost their lives when 2 planes crashed into the twin towers in New York City.
We’re quite a few hours ahead here in Adelaide so it was about 11pm our time when it happened. Normally I would have been asleep and not found out until the next day but I had a three month old son at the time and he woke me up about midnight for a feed.
I got up and turned on the telly and was confronted with images of planes crashing into the tall twin tower buildings. I cannot remember if I saw the second one as it happened but I was able to see them both over and over, then watch as people jumped out of the buildings to escape a hot fiery death.
Naturally I was horrified that something like this could happen and some of my first thoughts, selfishly, were what sort of world have I brought my son into. I imagined this might be the catalyst for a full scale world war. I half expected to hear news of bombs going off in other large cities.
I stayed up long past the time I normally did to feed my son and when I realised I was just watching the same footage over and over, and listening to the same speculations over and over, sleep beckoned and I went back to bed.
She woke up this morning with no prompts from alarm clocks. The light coming in through the window indicated that it was her usual time of waking up, about 6.30. She lay there for a little while and tried to figure out what day it was.
The alarm hadn’t woken her so there was a good chance it wasn’t a work day. She collected her thoughts and realised that it was a work morning, and the start of her working week – a Monday.
She looked at the clock. It was indeed 6.30am. Time to get up.
I had to dig around to find a copy of The Vivisector and finally got one. My local library didn’t have a copy. The copy I’ve got must be an original. Details are: Published in 1970 by Jonathan Cape Ltd, London. It’s the hardback with a plain orange cover.
I didn’t know whether I’d enjoy it or not but willing to give it a go and now I’m looking forward to each instalment of my reading.
I’m up to about the middle of chapter 2 and they’re quite long chapters so this commentary is only up to the Courtney’s trip to Europe. The brief is to have read chapters 1-3 by today, but I’ll have to catch up on the weekend.
Points of note to me:
- Hurtle Duffield Courtney is an interesting six year old. He’s comes across as quite arrogant for his age. Others participating in the readers’ group have mentioned his cruelty but cruel wouldn’t be the word I would use. Arrogant, yes, as I mentioned above, and curious, and direct as children are.
- He is also a bit weird and creepy. He keeps talking about brushing up against women and girls, implying that his character is older than he is.
‘She would look at him as though he was sick. Till he brushed up against her. He had learnt that this worked with his mother, and with Lena and the girls. He had never tried it out on his father.’ (p 15)
I can’t think of any six year old I know exploring their sexuality beyond having a bit of play with their willie.
- Having said that, I like his creativeness and how he interprets things as he sees them quite differently from most people.
‘If he ever painted Sybil Gibbons he would show her pale-green, vegetable flesh tortured by moonlight and hot sheets, her lips slightly open as he sa they would have to be.’ (p. 129)
He says himself: ‘I don’t want to be like everyone else.’ (p. 87)
- The use of the second person? ‘You this and you that,’ is quite distracting. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not used to this style as I haven’t encountered it before. Even when I hear people use ‘you’ when they’re obviously talking about themselves annoys me.
- I think if I met Maman in real life she and I wouldn’t be friends. She strikes me as being too needy and a bit shallow.
- And Rhoda. Not quite sure if I feel sorry for her or not. It must be hard for her to have Hurtle arrive as part of the family and realise that he’s their favourite.
JJ’s school shut down for the day today because of the Royal Adelaide Show. This meant that I either had to find childcare for the day or look after him myself. I chose the look after him myself option.
It’s therefore fortunate that I work four days a week and can go into work tomorrow instead. It felt like Friday to me today, so tomorrow I’m going to be a complete mess not knowing what day it is.
This is only the beginning of ‘pupil free days’. When I went to school I don’t remember pupil free days probably because they never happened. Now I hear about them all the time and will be experiencing them myself – the first one being in November.
The school staff don’t sit around on these pupil free days and drink martinis and gossip about how great it is they’re getting paid to sit around and drink martinis. I think they go and do staff development. I’m not quite sure why staff development doesn’t happen during the school holidays – the 12 weeks or so that teachers get a year? I’m not a teacher so I don’t really know and I’m sure there’s good reasons why the whole school has to be shut down for a day so this staff development can happen. Actually, they just need time out from the kids I’ll bet.
But it’s damned inconvenient for us parents. Not only do working parents have to find care for their children during holidays, but also care has to be sought for other days the school is shut. I wouldn’t mind if I had the same amount of holidays as school students get.
I’ve decided to use this post as my Blogging for Books entry – only
slightly amended from the original. I just stumbled upon the Zeroboss’s
weblog again recently and it’s good to see he’s back doing Blogging for Books.
His September 2006 Blogging for Books brief is to "write about a time when you either:
- learned a harsh life lesson, got punk’d, or simply had someone make an ass of you;
- gained a spectacular new insight into life; or
- decided to educate yourself about something."
This is about when I decided to educate myself about something, which eventually helped lead to my current career, and blogging.
When I did year 12 (the final year) at high school – a 200 student country high
school with not very many year 12 subject choices back in 1983 – one of
the subjects I did was English. I could choose between English or
Physics and physics definitely isn’t my strong point so English it was. I’ve also always really loved reading so English should have been easy. I would read everything I possibly could, from the back of cereal packets to my stash of Enid Blyton books.
In my midyear exams I really bombed out with a ‘D’ in English. I couldn’t quite believe this ‘D’ mark as my love for reading should have carried through to my writing too shouldn’t it? I was disgusted with my crap mark and the thought of end
of year exams filled me with dread. Failing year 12 was not an option I
wanted to consider even though I had no idea what I would study if I went to
university. In fact I had no idea what I would do at
all as the world wide web wasn’t around then and that’s my area of work and interest now. Our high school only got computers after I left and they wouldn’t
have been on the internet for some years to come.
When I finished year 12 I had an idea that I might do social work.
That idea to me now is quite laughable as I’m sure I would not be a
very good social worker. We had no career counsellors then and all I
really remember doing to prepare me for my life beyond high school was
a visit to a couple of universities to have a look at their degree
options. Nothing stood out at all but it was a trip away from my
country town for a day or two and a chance to go and get my ears pierced without my parents knowing.
Back to my ‘D’ for English. I had to learn how to write essays that would get me through exams at the end of the year so I put my head down, bum up and
practised and practised writing essays. I got my English teacher to
give me essay questions and I would write introductions for them so I got
the gist of what was required in an essay, a large component of the
exam. To add to the stress, there were two English exams. My teacher would have read my introductions, give me feedback and I’d take some more
home the next weekend. This was all on top of the rest of my year 12 workload. I obviously didn’t have a life and my teacher was superb in helping me out like this.
I think subjecting students to an end of year exam which can make or
break your entrance into university is torture. I can only presume that
when I hear of year 12’s now getting perfect or almost perfect scores
that the majority of them do science subjects where there are right and
wrong answers. I can’t imagine, unless someone’s absolutely brilliant
at things that require your own interpretation like English and history
and art, that students can get perfect scores in these subject areas.
And these were the types of subjects I did in year 12.
All my hard work paid off and I got a reasonably good mark for my
year 12 English, the best out of all my subjects. In fact the rumour going around was that I wouldn’t pass year 12
but I did and some fellow students that I thought would easily pass, didn’t.
I ended up working and travelling for about ten years before I
entered university and my year 12 marks were good enough that I didn’t
need to sit a test to gain entry. My subsequent degree helped me obtain my current paid job as a
professional writer/editor. I have to wonder if I hadn’t prodded myself back in year 12 to practise writing essays what I might be doing today.