Friday, April 30, 2004

Feel much better today, especially since tonight, thanks to B, I'm off to see The Flying Dutchman. God bless HalfTix.

German class last night was good; there's only nine of us left from last semester, plus a new guy, Peter, who did 1A in Hawthorn last year. It turns out he lives in Valiant Street and works in Marine Parade. I got a lift home with him, although it would have been faster by train as his girlfriend/partner didn't arrive until after 9.30.

I probably have to do a bit more revision than I had done -- curse those gendered nouns.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Have been feeling a bit plain for the last few days and spent yesterday morning in bed instead of at work. I'm back on deck today and ready for return to German class tonight, though I haven't done much revision.

Used Tat's heater last night because when I tried the ducted system (which I had turned off and on again to reset) it did just what it did previously: went on for about thirty seconds blowing cold air and then turned itself off, never to return (well, I hope not completely).

Listening to: Symphony No 6 by Arnold Bax
Reading: Bearbrass

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Gloriana rehearsal last night was a bit light-on with people, but we did some good work on the Poulenc. It's not easy, but once you get the lines in your brain, they make a sort of sense. But some bits are quite strange.

Tat kindly brought me a couple of heaters to try while the ducted system is off-line. I rang the help line last night and they walked me through resetting the system. It worked after the reset, but similar to Friday night, not for long. I'm booked in for a service call on 29 May (it seems the woman I spoke to yesterday morning didn't actually book the call). Let's hope it doesn't get too cold in the interim.

Monday, April 26, 2004

I think I'm in for a cold time -- P&B came for dinner on Friday night and in the course of the evening I turned on the ducted heating. It ran for about 30 seconds, then turned itself off. I've tried again since but without success, although I haven't tried moving the thermostat indicator past 20 degrees.

This morning I rang the company and after a wait of some minutes got on to a woman who said she'd book me in for a service call, on 26 May(!). She suggested I might try calling when I get home and they may be able to talk me through a few tests. Here's hoping it's easily fixed. In the interim I've emailed Tat asking if she has a spare heater I could borrow.

The weekend was lovely with the high point being a birthday dinner for Stuart T (39) at European, near the Princess Theatre; good food, good drink and good company. To Mum's on Sunday -- she's still much the same; her back is playing up at the moment. I feel so helpless that I can't do anything to ease her pain.

B rang in the afternoon asking me round for dinner: real sotto ayam (as opposed to the fake one he often makes, though I don't know what's fake about it) which was delicious. We watched the "Lawrence of Arabia" show on the ABC, then caught up with Friday's episode of "Hunt for the hidden relic" on tape. It's a bit stretched out, but I'm quite enjoying it.

Reading: Bearbrass by Robyn Annear
Listening to: Orchestral music by Howard Hanson

Friday, April 23, 2004

Happy days -- where do I start?

It's raining; good soaking rain, which is forecast to last the whole weekend. Wonderful! I just hope they're getting it where it's really needed like central Victoria which as we saw at Easter is so dry.

Other good news to hand: my flight to London/Europe is booked. I leave Melbourne on September 13, returning about a month later after having had lots of fun and catching up with some dear friends in various countries. Now all I have to do is find my passport.

The last piece of good news is that after days of battling with patches, fixes and the like I have finally cleaned up my computer and installed much-needed virus protection software. Despite LM's help it wasn't until NC "The Champ" put me on to AVG anti-virus, a version of which is free, that I was able to actually do anything with the PC. Now I'll keep it all up to date, I promise.

In other news: Yesterday I spent some time working on the new asset-management system at work, processing yesterday's paper for the clients so they can compare the feeds from the new and old systems. A long slog.

Then in the evening I went to dinner with Dr D and the Lotus Master (formerly known as DA & AH - I'm sick of boring initials) in their eyrie atop the Majorca Building. The doctor had cooked a wonderful chicken tikka, served with beans and spinach, and tomato rice. Delicious. We watched a german film (getting back into the mood), Mostly Martha, about a woman chef whose sister dies in a car accident leaving her daughter to be cared for by the chef. Nothing unexpected in the film, but some terrific stuff in the kitchen (some mouth-watering food) and very beautifully filmed (though the boys' wide-screen TV could have something to do with that).

Home in time to run another virus scan on the PC and get rid of the last of the nasties.

And happy ever after!...

... I wish.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Last night I met P after work and we made our way to Windsor where we met B and had a quick meal before heading to The Astor to see Jour de fête of Jacques Tati. I wanted to see it after reading Adrian Martin's gushing review of Playtime in The Age. I mis-remembered and thought he'd raved about Jour de fête; it didn't matter -- it was still fun. Not excruciatingly so, except in the sequence where Tati, as the drunk postman, tries to mount his bicycle but keeps throwing his leg over a fence which he's walking by at the time. I nearly wet myself.

Made in 1949 it was filmed in Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre in central France, not a particularly pretty town, but the film provides a fascinating illustration of post-war French country life. The version we saw was in colour, not released until 1995, though it was fairly primitive.

We decided not to see the second film on the program, Playtime and caught a cab home.

I still have not been able to get rid of the worm on the computer -- the file LM gave me yesterday did nothing. He's given me another to try. We'll see.

This morning I dropped a couple of videos round for P&B then went for a ride in the park; the weather has been glorious. Then to work at 3.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

On Saturday evening I accompanied Tat to the Gombert concert at Toorak College in Mt Eliza. The hall had an extraordinarily dry acoustic which meant that you could hear every singer; there was no blend of the sound. However by the second half (Brahms motets) the choir had managed to accustom themselves and turned in a cracking performance. That's not to say that the first half was bad, it wasn't, just that the second was better.

It finally rained on Saturday evening -- quite a good soaking, but we still need a lot more. Nevertheless the garden is looking a lot happier since then.

Sunday to Mum's where sister G and her husband D were visiting; it was good to catch up with them. In the afternoon LE dropped in on her way home from visiting P&B -- she and P were off to a concert so she called in to pass some time. We had a nice chat and a cuppa. When she left I jumped onto the web where I stupidly seem to have picked up a virus or worm which constantly insists on closing down my computer. I spoke to LM at work about it and he gave me a patch which should get rid of the blaster worm and a copy of McAfee anti-virus software to install. Unfortunately the patch didn't seem to have any effect on the worm, and I was also unable to install the anti-virus software. Back to square one.

I spoke to LM this morning and he's going to try to find something else for me to try -- I feel like a complete twat for having gone so long without virus detection software and realise that I deserve all that has happened to me. Oh well, I've still got my health.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

How very weird to be sleeping with only a sheet in the middle of April.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A very lazy day today, as I'm working the evening shift. Got up late and faffed around until lunchtime, then walked to the tram (rather than catching the train) and had a leisurely walk down Bourke Street before work. Visited a number of bookshops on the way, but didn't see anything I couldn't resist. Will have to get something soon as I've almost finished the Susan Cooper.

Today has been amazingly hot (32ºC) for the time of year, and still no decent rain. The good news is that there is rain forecast for the next few days -- let's hope it happens. The good thing about the weather is that the roses have decided to put on another show and the raspberries (autumn variety) are ripening beautifully. Still not very many at a time; tasty in small doses.

Ripped a few more CDs for the Zen ("not an iPod"), some PDQ Bach for fun this time. I seem to have put a huge number of CDs on the gadget, but so far I've used up barely a third of its storage space.

Spoke to BN last night -- she's off to Apollo Bay again on the weekend so I won't catch her this time around; perhaps next week. Am planning lunch with RR and dinner with GH tomorrow and will go to Mornington with Tat for the Gombert concert.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I spent the last few days with DG and P&B in Newstead, in the heart of the Victorian central goldfields. A&A own an old miner's cottage there which we have been visiting on and off for the last ten years or so. It's a lovely place to kick off the shoes and sit back and relax; eating and drinking is nice, too.

I was picked up by DG on Friday morning and we arrived around lunchtime, P&B arriving an hour or so later. We had divided up the evening meals between us: Friday night came courtesy of P who had cooked a wonderful casserole similar to cassoulet, chock a block with pork, beans and root vegetables. Delicious. Then on Saturday I cooked my favourite, chicken with preserved lemons and olives served with cous cous; DG's offering came on Sunday evening with a barbecue of local bullboar sausages, pork chops and char-grilled eggplant, served with home-made potato salad. B arranged cold meats and cheeses for our lunches, as well as discovering a special deal on cleanskin wines, which turned out to be a good bargain.

Most of the time not involved in eating and drinking was spent sitting reading, with the occasional interruption for talking and the odd walk. We also went for a drive to Clunes, the site of the first gold strike in Victoria, which is now a rather quiet, but pleasant little town. On Saturday night there was a light fall of rain, which is desperately needed in this part of the state. Of course by the next morning the ground was completely dry and parched; the rain gauge showed the fall amounted to 1mm.

While I was away JW kindly fed Puschka but managed to completely overlook the Easter egg I had left in the fridge for him -- it even had a large note addressed to him on it. I'll have to get it to him during the week if I can manage to keep my hands off it.

Back to work this morning. It's amazing how rapidly the time off disappears in one's recollections; I feel as if I've been back a week already.

Reading: The dark is rising cycle by Susan Cooper (for the umteenth time)
Listening to: Symphonies by Kinsella; more Berlioz; de Rore Missa Praeter Rerum Serium

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Fed P&B a Thai-style chicken curry which was lovely (have just finished off the left-overs at work for dinner - yum, even better the second day). Ran around this morning doing a bit of shopping for food to take to Newstead; had breakfast at Gypsy cafe in Smith Street, then home to finish off the scanning of Tat's holiday photos. She's got some really great pics of Britain. Then came to work via St Michael's only to discover that AC's singing tomorrow is to be accompanied by Francis McNab meditating on depression and melancholy -- I think we might give that a miss and have a Victoria Street meal instead.

Could each of my faithful readers (and those occasional callers) please email me at the address on the side (you'll have to remove REMOVE) as I'm curious to know how many, and who, you are.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

It's official: I am a klutz.

On the way through town last night while not concentrating on where I was going (changing tracks on the Zen) I walked straight into a public phone booth. The perspex side caught me a nasty blow (as they say) on the forehead and the forearm. Consequently I now have a tender spot on my head and a lump (also sore) on my arm. That'll teach me to watch where I'm going.

After this unfortunate incident I made my way to Reader's Feast where I found the ideal birthday present for DG (not telling at the moment) plus an interesting and potentially useful German grammar. So much for saving my pennies.

Last night had dinner chez P&B -- it was lovely to see P after a fortnight. He seems to have had a good break with his family in dizzy Brissy, the buying of white goods notwithstanding. Tonight it's their turn to be fed by me.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Friday's concert was great -- we were sitting in the second-back row of the balcony (about as far away as you can get) but the sound was pretty good. Except that we could see Peter Coleman-Wright's mouth moving but couldn't hear everything that came out of it. The Parsifal excerpts had been cleverly sewn together with nary a seam which meant that there was no applause to ruin the continuity.

The orchestra played very well indeed; the only down-side being the appalling "bells" which seemed to be a combination of organ notes and something tubular from a garage -- not a good noise. The Adams was very interesting with a huge assembly of musicians on the stage including multiple marimbas/xylophones/metallophones, etc. I'm glad to have heard it in concert, but won't be running out to buy a recording. DG enjoyed the concert, even the Adams, thought he admitted that early on he didn't think he would.

Saturday, after a quick shop with B (who had a succesful week away) I made my way to Spencer Street Station where, after negotiating the rebuilding mess, I caught a train to Woodend to visit AC. We did a bit of singing then went for a walk around the property before A cooked me dinner. Was home by 9pm after a very pleasant day.

Yesterday was the Gloriana concert; after Monday's less-than-confident rehearsal everyone seemed to pull out all stops and deliver the goods (if you'll pardon the appalling mixed metaphors). All seemed to be in good voice and the Jackson was the best we've ever done it. (I got parts of the Gloria right for the first time, but don't tell Andrew.) All in all a very satisfying performance.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Had to work yesterday evening (3-11pm) and I ended up having to do data processing work as the person rostered on could not make it. Consequently I'm rather tired today (after having processed over 200 records in the shift).

Had a productive morning with a trip to Dimmey's for boxers, then to the health centre to pick up some pharmacy items and finishing up with a trip to P&B's to feed Spencer. B's father B was doing some painting on the front porch; it was nice to catch up with him. He said that B's talk went off well - I look forward to hearing all the news.

Gave myself a fright this morning when I logged on to the CAE site and was unable to find Uli's German 1B class listed; only the Monday night class was there. I was afraid I'd missed out but after a IM chat with Dr D decided to ring the language centre and check up. The outcome is that I'm now enrolled for the next part of the course starting later in April. Must do some revision over Easter.

Have booked tickets for DG and me for tomorrow's MSO concert (Parsifal excerpts, Adams Harmonielehre).