30 June 2009

lumps, crumbs and irony

So that little lump of sadness is dissolving in a fizz of urgency for life. However am very impatient with current lifestations. Probably because I’ve just returned from ten days jamful of friends, family, Dali, winter food, mushrooming, open fires, wine, wombat chasing and the wild woolly Prom. To desk. Which is currently proving very blah.

I like to think I have a high capacity for work and usually (at least after coffee) contribute something of value and substance – even if the terrain has seemed rather pointless at times. Now I’m on meaningful terrain, but for reasons largely beyond my control, contributing mere crumbs. I found out last week that a return to my communications perch seems likely, since the seat I’m warming will shortly be reclaimed.

My former boss (the one who I love – I think – for keeping me on a yo-yo string and letting me explore it's furthermost limits) asked me to come work with her (again) in a super stealthy strategic area of the new mega-department. Whispers are the Army has too many spin doctors, so the team is being scattered to the winds. Including super stealthy strategic areas of the department.

I need to go back a few years to explain why this is so ironic it makes me want to puke. I was basically minding my own business at the old desk (thrice removed) when I got lured by an agency to go work in a flashy role in the old human services department, ie, the same department which earlier this year sucked up my department along with several others and became one mega human services department, ie the one I work for now. Follow? After working like an absolute dog on high-profile social marketing campaigns under stupid amounts of pressure, I choked on a hairball and took a rather spectacular nosedive (and watched in horror, mid-freefall, as my ‘superiors’ ran away with their safety net). Whereupon I found myself back at my little old desk batting away flies and self-loathing. Grrr. Shortly thereafter, I renounced my field of ‘expertise’ (bah), put a hex on life at desk, packed up the nest and flew the government coop altogether.

In hindsight, one of the best things that ever happened to me.

So. In effect, my old boss (the one who has me on the string), has asked me to join her in roughly the same place I was when I made that spectacular nosedive.

$#@#%%%$ huh…?

Could this be some rude circuitous groundhog plot, designed perhaps to remind me why I left in the first place? HTF could I end up back in the SAME place which cured me of my desk ambition and sent me packing to the northernmost tip of Australia (which btw is not Cape York but Boigu Island, where the crocs have names and you can feast on mudcrab for all of $2).

There is one small ray of hope, in the form of another short-term position in the policy dynamic. Gah. Maybe I need to embrace the buddhist reality and accept that temporary is just the way things are.

22 June 2009

dear universe

I barely know where to start. The past few weeks have been chockers. A three-week intravenous hit of culture and people I love. Between mud-camping at Woodford for the Dreaming Festival, Melbourne to see friends whilst dosing on food, Dali, design and high-street-retail love, and Binginwarri to gather wild mushrooms, chase wombats and get trounced by the relics in the Winter 2009 Pictionary Play Offs, I’ve barely been home.

Or alone.

And now that I am both, I’m feeling kinda sad.

I’ve been given a fair bit of prodding in recent months to think about the shortness of life. Today another good soul passed away. I am sending warm thoughts to his family and friends. And acknowledging life, the precarious privilege.

Dear universe, I am paying attention.

02 June 2009

ho fan club

My mate Ren and I have started this thing on Friday nights. We do dinner. Actually we do Vietnamese. Actually we do Vietnamese in West End. Starting in Hardgrave Road, which has at least a long month’s worth of Vietnamese Friday dinners. Last week we gave ourselves a name – the Ho Fan Club, after one of the house specials at Quan Thanh. And too much red wine. And at the encouragement of Ren’s partner J who thought "ho fun" (in a 'chinglish' accent with good-time inflection) was the goods. We also adopted some house rules: one, we order to share; two we always order a tofu dish; three, we always mystery-select a chicken dish (ie, in ‘blindly point at the chicken section of the menu' fashion); and four, we never eat at the same establishment twice.

So we thought yeah, that’s pretty cool. An interesting start to our respective weekends. Maybe we should blog it. And then I was looking at The Age and see that one of their food writers has done the same thing! Except on Mondays along Victoria Street in Richmond. They call their little dinner club 'Good Evening Vietnam' (snooze). And they’ve been doing this for a whole year already!

WTF? Seriously! I mean if only we could come up with these ideas a little earlier. Anyway, I'm sure there's only one Ho Fan Club in Brisbane. And here it is...

01 June 2009

material girl and the wealth of nations

Lately I’ve been single-handedly reversing the penny-pinching global trend. My dormant discretionary spending capacity has been unleashed and the industrious squirreling of acorns into a handsome mound has been suspended in the name of cultural participation. It started as a few dinners out, some music, books, wine. A movie here. A haircut there. New jeans. A festival ticket. A 1960s Danish leather chair!

When I moved into the Highgate Hill abode, I found it really difficult to unpack things. The psychological transition from impermanence/mobility to a more predictable, fixed life (with objets de stuff) is unfolding still. I'm still living out of a toiletries bag (old habits) and my pantry which still seems mildly gargantuan is in fact little more than a large shoe box. Now the end of my six-month lease is nigh. I have a new job and am enjoying the company of men-folk (one in particular). I've been coming round to the idea that maybe my view of this moment (the job, the city, the 100-metre dash for cash) being ultra temporary was kind of illusory. That doesn’t mean I have cast aside my self-sufficiency goals. It means that severe shortcuts which demand a reduced/fleeting experience are out. I will unpack the other four glasses in the set! I will get that print framed and I will invest in stereophonics!

Longevity is my new mantra. Temporary is out!

So in aid of making my current stations more comfortable, I spent Saturday trawling the net and visiting Video Pro to talk stereo. iPod speaker docks, in fact. I was completely ready to pounce on the B&W Zeppelin, supreme and lovely beast of speaker docks. Which would have been an immediate fix to my lack-of-decent-sound problem. But at the point of sale that longevity thing reared its persistent little mug. I took a walk and pondered the iPod lifecycle and the scalability of the Zeppelin for future stations in life. It has no tuner. It sounded difficult to hook up to dvd. It has kick-ass speakers, but whose ability to kick ass would probably diminish in larger environs. I pondered the final commitment to adulthood: the purchase of a grown-up stereo. The kind you keep forever.

I stood there on the brink of ideological redefinition, with the sales chump batting his free warranties at me. I hemmed. I hawed. I hedged. And drove away sans Zeppelin, resigning myself to the inevitable protracted trauma of researching amps, tuners and speakers.

When I got home I took out the sales chump's card.

Adam Smith. Indeed. The material girl is back.