Friday, 3 February 2006

Confined to Quarters

I am taking a mental health day today. According to schedule I ought to be sitting in the library right now going through this vast directory of all the world's universities trying to identify unis in Asia that have EngLit faculties, then finding an email address for someone inside that faculty, then sending them an invite to our conference on Jane Austen. The kind of task that makes me light-headed and queasy with the overabundance of data. I only managed to do two countries yesterday. So far this conference-organising caper is proving much more difficult than I expected. But, you know, I want it to be really really really good. If we somehow manage to get the keynote speakers I'm hoping for, it'll be stratospherically fantastic and worth all the stress and mucking round.

But I'm not going to think about it any more today. I was very tired last night and some minor unrelated bits of annoyance really got to me as a result. Lest you doubt the completeness of my day off, I hasten to assure you I've gone back to bed with a novel, a computer, a long glass of apple and blackcurrant juice and a small bowl of dates. Baz is here too, he's having a biiiiiig rest after the momentous exertions of sleeping like a log all night.

Yesterday I finally got my car back from the mechanic's, where it's been on and off since the first days of January, and at last it appears to be fixed. Fingers crossed. I'm inclined to be a bit pissed off that it took them three goes to get to the cause of the problem, the more so when Glen managed to precisely diagnose the exact issue in the comments to this post on the basis of nothing more than a vague verbal description of the symptoms....on the other hand, the garage has been unfailingly courteous and helpful, to the extent of lending us a car while ours was out of commission, seemingly waiving charges for speculative adjustments they made at different times, and indicating that they would try to avoid charging us for bench testing of a part which now seems not to have been at fault at all. They still haven't asked for payment, which is somewhat ominous on the whole. What do you think?

Speaking of quartering, both Glen and Pavlov meme'd me with the four things meme, which I shall see to right now. I feel it's kind of uncool not to do memes when you're given them, but at the same time I apologise in advance for not having anything very interesting to put in this one. Since doing that 100 things about me list I find this variety of meme very hard, all the "good" stuff is already used up.

Meme of Four

Four jobs I've had
- call centre nuisance
- jeans shop flunky
- election scrutineer
- bag maker

Four movies I can watch over and over
- Dead Man
- Tommy
- Vertigo
- Night of the Hunter

Four places I've lived

- 0-7: Wonthaggi. On the right there is the intergalactically famous Wonthaggi pub doorway framed with the jawbones of a whale, put up some time early last century when killing whales was all the go in Victoria. I think the bones were still there when we lived in Wonthaggi. I think my parents used to go to this pub with their workmates sometimes? I remember sitting on the floor under the table on the sticky red carpet, drinking sticky red lemonade, and reading an illustrated abridgement of Sherlock Holmes's adventure of The Speckled Band. (I'm willing to be told this memory isn't real.)

- 7-12: Hepburn Springs. Just up the hill from here. In the 1982 drought we drank mineral water drawn from the iron-flavoured spring because the rainwater tanks were empty.

- 12-18: Warrnambool. I think those cannons were installed during the Crimean War in case the Russians decided to invade the south coast. Looking through the NLA's image library of Warrnambool scenes just now, I realised for the first time how much I've internalised its topography and how much it's fed my imagination. The view from this spot seems to have determined how I imagined the Whitby chapters in Dracula; closer to the sea, the Breakwater and Pickering Point are the places I pictured, without knowing it, when trying to imagine how the Dockyard at Portsmouth must have looked in Austen's time.

- 18-now: Melbourne...shortly to be rendered most un-Marvellous under a deluge of Commonweath Gamesey nonsense, or worse...

Four TV shows I "love" (scare quotes added)
- The Bill
- Australian Idol
- Chartbusting 80s

Four places I've holidayed
- Dalat
- Chillagoe
- Hong Kong
- Kiama

Four of my favourite dishes
- curried parsnip soup
- homemade tabbouleh
- poached eggs and avocado on toast
- anything I haven't cooked myself

Four sites I visit daily
choosing four is kind of hard since the first thing I do when I go on the net is open fourteen thousand tabs in firefox. But still:
- the library
- the Valve
- Larvatus Prodeo
- Bureau of Meterology

Four places I would rather be right now
- Meiji era Kyoto, in the workshop of a master silk weaver
- The Lido at Venice circa 1910
- Bath or Weymouth during the Napoleonic wars
- at the airport about to get on a plane for a long haul flight somewhere interesting... can't beat the high you get just before takeoff.


David said...

My wife works for the Bureau of Meteorology and tells me their site is the 6th most popular in Australia.

R H said...

There's an "apartment" up there, right at the top of the Manchester Unity.
I'd like to have it. Just as a weekender.