Sunday, September 30, 2012

September in review

September 30. Day 274. Burning ring of fire

If you can't stand the heat...don't set fire to a hula hoop and then start wiggling it around your hips.
One of my favourite things to do on a weekend is to stroll down to South Bank and watch as the street entertainers lure the crowds of families from the beach, playground equipment and picnic areas to watch the performances.
Today it was Judith Lanigan the amazing international hula hoop performer.
One can only imagine how circus performers such as Judith dream up their routines. What sort of thought bubble would require envisaging climbing up a ladder and performing a flaming hula hoop act?
Of course being able to perform these feats is only a small part of the trick. The performance prattle is vital to the entertainment experience. Judith had the crowd eating out of her hand as she told us that she would perform bare breasted. Turned out it was bear breasted. Just as well given there was fire involved. All I can say is that it is just as well she is self employed because she would never get this act past a workplace occupational health and safety officer. Everyone knows it's not safe to climb that high on a ladder.
Judith, I think you were smokin'. Not so hot were those who were prepared to watch the whole act and then sneak away without dropping even a small coin into the hat. If it has no value to you don't watch.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29. Day 273. Dazzling smile

It was all smiles at South Bank this afternoon as the large crowds began to gather for what is arguably this biggest event on the Brisbane calendar Riverfire. And no-one was supporting a bigger grin than Chris who was manning a store selling anything you could imagine that glows in the dark. Clearly my imagination isn't big enough because before today I had not envisaged a market for glow-in-the-dark teeth. As the old saying goes "Your teeth are like stars, they come out at night" and there was a twinkle in Chris's eyes to match that dazzling smile.
Truth is Chris was far from the only big kid getting ready for the Riverfire. There is something about fireworks that brings out a childlike joy in just about all of us. A few will mumble about the cost in terms of dollars and the environment but to them I say "bah humbug". You don't have to flash an LED powered smile but just today keep your mouth shut or find something else to sink your teeth into. Now let the fireworks begin.

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28. Day 272. Throwing yourself off a cliff

 Stradbroke Island Camping. Day 3

The mother's phrase book, Page 227a contains the following advice.
When child says "But Mum,  it's not fair. [Insert name of child's friend here] is allowed to do it."
Mum is to reply: "Well if [Insert name of child's friend here] jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"
Apparently the answer is supposed to be no but as my camping buddies Daniel, 16, and Scott, 14, showed today if one was going to jump off a cliff the other certainly was not going to miss out. The boys are masters at dune jumping in a way that makes me glad that my son is a home boy. Scary stuff.
To me just the business of going camping is enough of a big leap out of the comfort zone. Home again and after a long bath I can reveal that while I am not exactly a convert I did have a great time.
But the truth is I just don't get it. I presume that the idea of camping is to get away from it all. As I walked around the camping ground, however, and looked at the extravagantly elaborate tents and annexes plus camping accessories that must have cost a king's ransom it rather struck me that many campers only wanted to get away from it all if they could take it all with them.
There is a lovely camaraderie about camping but there is also so much messing around to get simple chores like cooking and eating out of the way.
I guess you just have to throw yourself in. Either you will enjoy it or not and just because [insert friend's name here] thinks going camping is a good idea doesn't mean you have to. Certainly there was no way I was throwing myself off the cliff like these teens. This girl is happier with her feet on the ground and her body sleeping in a bed.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Septemberb 27. Day 271. Adder girl

Stradbroke Island Camping Day 2

Okay, I confess. the Adder Rock camp ground on Stradbroke Island is beautiful.
Our camping buddies are awesome (not just because they set up our tents and blew up the air beds before we got here) but because I enjoy their company. Sitting around the table playing cards and board games wearing head torches is a lot of fun. I think the fox that prowled past while we sat was enjoying the scene or at very least the smell of the chicken curry I brought with me.
Our tents are pitched only metres from the beach and the sound of the waves lures you to sleep. And I slept like a baby (by which I do not mean I woke up every two hours screaming).
But here's the thing. The closer you are to the beach the further away you are to the toilet block and I have a very girl bladder. Trekking to the loo at all hours in the dark is not my idea of fun. Getting to perv on the bare butts of the naked young men streaking to the beach when they thought no-one was about was more enjoyable. Note to self. Take the camera EVERYWHERE, even at 1am.
There is also the reward of waking up to this scene.
Verdict so far:
Plus side: the view (including the bottoms)
Down side: the plumbing (mine and that of the camp ground)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26. Day 270. Creature comforts

Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel industry: Dave Barry

Stradbroke Island Camping Day 1

On my last short break, there was a bag just for charging devices. My belief that what separates man from the apes is our ability to plug things in and to use plumbing. So it mystifies me that people actually enjoy camping, removing all the competitive advantages walking upright has brought. This creature likes her creature comforts.
Yet for some reason I decided to accept an invitation to go camping with friends for a few days. It has to be said that the offer was made and accepted at a girls' night out and if memory serves me correctly it was after cocktail hour.
It seemed like such a good idea at the time to take my bundle of marking and sit under a tree on Stradbroke Island. Now that the day has come I am seriously starting to question the sanity of that decision, especially after I managed to navigate to the wrong ferry terminal and instead of being there the required 20 minutes before departure, I got there six minutes after the ferry should have backed out from the dock. Fortunately we weren't the only ones running late.
This should have been a sign to turn round and head home.
However, there is a huge stubborn streak in me and if I say I will do something I like to follow through. Plus I am always telling  Mr O that you will never know unless you try and getting the 14-year-old out of his room and into the company of other teenagers was a strong motivating factor.
And if all else fails I'm pretty sure there's a motel on the Island (preferably one with good plumbing and the ability to plug in my devices).
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25. Day 269. I don't give a feather or a fig

An email hit my in basket in the past week inviting people who live in the Highgate Hill area to join a birders group. The email talked of the vast amount of wildlife in the area and sought to recruit people interested in sharing sightings and observations.
My reaction was pretty much "whatever". I may be a tweeter but a twitcher I am not.
I love the fact that the area is indeed teeming with birdlife but I could count the number of bird species in the area I could name on the fingers of one hand.
But I seem to have developed a fascination with photographing birds, perhaps because there are so many of them and they do seem to like to pose (Also birds don't look at you like you are a pervert when you point a big lens at them and there is never an issue with informed consent).
Anyway today it was my ear not my eye that drew my attention to this fellow. It had the most beautiful musical call.
So when I returned home I consulted my bird reference book (otherwise known as Google) and came to the conclusion that this is an Australian Figbird (I am very happy to admit that this is far from a scientific certainly but I'll go with that).
Now in the words of Swing on a Star, I may not give a feather or a fig but the call of this bloke was music to my ears. Quite the little songbird

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24. Day 268. Leaping into holidays

School holidays. Two whole weeks on almost unlimited opportunities to do whinge about being bored.
It doesn't seem to matter how many gadgets you have, there never seems to be the right one for the moment.
While scores of cable TV channels failed to deliver a flicker of excitement, the promise of an afternoon storm had Mr O and his cousin Cleo out in the yard jumping around like frogs as the rain started.
The amount of thunder and lightening suggest that others got a great big dumping but here there was little more than a trickle.
Perhaps next time they should try a rain dance.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23. Day 267. There once was an ugly duckling

There once was an ugly duckling
With feathers all stubby and brown
And the other birds said in so many words
Get out of town
 Isn't it appalling how quick we are to  judge according to appearance? How all pervasive the cult of beauty is?
Would you look at this little guy I saw swimming in one of the canals at South Bank this morning. I suspect he's a fairly new hatching and a sure sign that Spring is with us.
Stubby feathers? For sure. But ugly? No way. The thing about beauty is that it not that it lies in the eye of the beholder (which it does) but that it ignores so many other attributes.
Surely being kind, or smart or talented should rate more highly than just being pretty.
And even if this ugly duckling never turns into a beautiful swan I reckon he's got a lot going for him right now. If nothing else being able to swan about in the cool pools at South Bank all day has to be a great start in life.