Monday, August 21, 2017

August 21. Day 233. Have we got story for you

Hugh Parker

Rhys Muldoon
When you've starred in everything from House Husbands to Play School having people come up and interrupt you during a chat is almost certainly an occupational hazard, an irritation. Let me tell you, however, in the unlikely event that Rhys Muldoon happens to butt in on your chat, the feeling is not reciprocated. I know this because it happened today. Drama Teen and I were interviewing Queensland Theatre's artistic director Sam Strong about the 2018 program when up rocked Rhys. He will star as Isaac Newton in David Williamson's new play Nearer The Gods in October. He's greatly looking forward to portraying Newton "an utter bastard" but that's not what he was chomping at the bit to talk about. He was desperately interested in The Longest Minute about the 2015 NRL Grand Final where the Cowboys beat the Broncos 17-16 thanks to a Johnathan Thurston field goal. Rhys outed me immediately as a
David Williamson
non-football fan. Clearly this is because he's an actor and I am not. That was the second surprise of the afternoon. The first surprise came just before we hit the record button on our interview with Australia's most prolific and successful playwright David Williamson. Fan boy Oliver brought out a copy of The Club for Williamson to sign. It turns out that two of Williamson's sons had to study The Club at school. Class mates were less than impressed with the unfair advantage this would give them. Williamson decided that if his son was going to be targeted he might as well get the inside knowledge. He sat him down and told him everything about the play which was duly reproduced on the HSC paper. It was the only piece of assessment his son failed. Note to self. Never enlist David Williamson for homework help. If, however, you want a story featuring greatly conflicted individuals and moral ambiguity, Williamson is your man. His ability to capture an audience with a great stories showing no sign of fading and nor is his enthusiasm for his craft.
The third interview was with Hugh Parker who will star as Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps. I consider Hugh as one of our state's best comic actors. He says it wasn't always that way. Although he has played Hannay before in Scotland, he was better known for more serious roles before being approached by former Queensland Theatre artistic director Wesley Enoch to give comedy a go. He took to it like a duck to water and he's delighted to have a second opportunity to bring the boys' own adventure that is the 39 Steps to life again . I can't wait. And that's just the tip of the iceberg in the 2018 program. You can hear our review of the program here.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

August 20. Day 232. May the force be with you

 I have been known to insinuate that I teach lecture rooms half full of crash test dummies - especially early on a Monday morning. In general terms this is not a university student's finest hour. There's a lot of intelligent life out there but it can be doing a really good job of hiding the fact. Perhaps I misjudged them. Perhaps they are super intelligent AND lifeless. They might just be robots, an area of research my university specialises in. Today was Robotronica, a celebration of all there is to know and love about robotics, AI, surgical bots, panda-bots and more. Th Garden Points campus was packed with geek, nerds and thousands of families determined to see the future or indeed the present. Given my super non-geek status I as just passing through on my way to elsewhere. However what I saw made me believe there is hope that one day I will achieve my childhood dream of having a maid just like Rosie the Robot in the Jetsons.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August 19. Day 231. Jumping for joy

So I'm a little bit happy. For the third year in a row I've entered photos in the Brisbane exhibition - The Ekka. While the winners are announced in advance, there's a competition within a competition. Because there are so many entries in the photographic classes each photo has to be considered worth just to make it on to the walls. The only way to see if you have made the grade is to check it out yourself (or wait until the exhibits are returned and check the back for a magic sticker). The magic sticker is good. A walk around the show grounds and a Dagwood Dog is better. So off I went, camera in hand. Both my mum and my husband had already been. they reported seeing one of my photos on display. Considering I entered eight that would have been a little disappointing. In fact seven made the passing grade and two have a coveted Commended Certificate. That makes 2017 my best year to date. Ironically I felt my pics this year weren't up to the previous two years. It shows you how little I actually know about photography. Still I'll take the spoils with a big fat juicy smile - and a Dagwood Dog with sauce.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18. Day 230. Oh sh*t!

 As a general rule, I find looking at the world through the lens of a camera heightens my attention to detail and my focus, if you like.
But not always. Every rule is made to be broken. So it was when taking pics of a little pied cormorant sunning itself in the city botanic gardens today. I was attracted by its wings which it was flapping about. It was only when I got home that I noticed that there was action happening at the other end. It seems I interrupted a private moment. Oh sh*t. And it was quite impressive given the size of the little thing. It was clearly deeply satisfying too. We were all bad attitude up to that point and after that far more contented with the world. It just goes to show that some things are the same no matter which species you are.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 17. Day 229. Laugh, kookaburra laugh

As an Australian (and I am a true blue, ridgee didge, electable to Federal parliament Australian) it is essential that I love kookaburras. Kookas are beautiful birds with laughs that bring a smile to your face even when they wake you before dawn. But my love has limits. Let's face it, Kookaburras are  a little bit intimidating especially when up close and personal. Their beaks are serious instruments designed to catch and kill snakes and rodents. This does not seem to worry my neighbour Margaret. She actually hand feeds them. Today during my visit, not one but two kookas were at Margaret's fly through restaurant. Margaret told me one was male - it had blue markings - and the one with the white markings was female. She had mince on the window sill but also let the birds - see prefers the Aussie slang term jackies  - take bits from her hand. I'd be afraid they'd take a finger or two. There's nothing about a kookaburra that appears in any way malicious but the mere power can not be ignored. What was unmistakable was just how pleased Margaret was at the return of all her beloved birds to her window.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 16. Day 228. Home sweet home

Look who's back where she belongs. After 10 days in hospital, my neighbour Margaret was allowed home today. In her own words she was as pleased as punch. As soon as she was she back in her favourite chair, she was up for visitors - of the four-legged kind. The truth is she would have been hard pressed to keep them away. The dogs heard my car come in. They heard our voices and they were kicking up quite a stink about the injustice of not being allowed a visit. The joy of both parties was unmistakable. This really shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Margaret insisted on having a copy of Winkle Did a Wee with her in hospital to show the nurses ... and the physios ... and the other patients ... and their visitors. She loves those dogs. They love her. Life is back as it should be.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15. Day 227. It's a dog's life

My dogs are the rulers of this roost.  Mostly the biggest boss is four kilos of white fluff. Small dog, big attitude. Rumple lets her get away with it.
But every now and again, the ever-calm, ever patient Rumple decides enough is enough. Rumple decides to assert his authority. Often this is on our walk.
 Rumple decides where we are going and he leaves non-one in any doubt where that will be.
He either digs his paws in and refuses to walk until we are facing the right or simply points his body and pulls.
Today I thought we were going to the University of Queensland.Rumple thought otherwise. Rumple thought we were going to the dog park. Rumple thought right. Winkle and I just followed on. As always Rumple was right. That's the important thing about being a boss - knowing when to intervene for a better outcome.