fate consipres against me. again.

So you guys all know that I’m in the middle of some serious last-round thesis editing, right?
The supes is back in about two weeks, I have a conclusion to (re)write, an introduction to (re)write, etc etc?
Well, this weekend past, we decided to pop down to Tasmania to see my ps and coincide with a visit from my nieces to my parents. That was all cool. Except for the bit where I do as normal and get sick. We did no walking, I sat on the sidelines like a nanna at a dance in Tasmania, I piked on a bunch of social engagements, and the only parts of the beautiful Hobart I saw after Saturday was through the parent’s lounge room windows (which is actually quite a lot, really).
RIght now I’m trying desperately to understand the written word (and to produce it too), and it’s not really working. I’ve been full of goob since Friday, though at least I’ve not napped all day today (as I did yesterday and the day before – hell, I even fell asleep during Angel the day before).
I thought I might do some work.
But I’m finding it really difficult to hold thoughts together. Reading is easy – it’s the comprehension that’s getting me. And I don’t think it’s such a great idea to try to edit/rewrite in this state.
Yeah, so that sucks, seeing as how I have the rest of this week (today, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) plus next week to do these little jobs, but we have this big dance thing on this weekend, which I think I’ll actually skip. I’m not particularly interested in the Evil Empire’s third (or is it fourth?) ‘national competition’ weekend. Particularly not when they can’t seem to run even one social dancing weekend. But we will have a lovely houseguest, which will be nice, possibly two. Then my parents will be down next week.
So yeah, thesis work?
Why is it that on the one fortnight when I really want to work my guts out, before the semester begins and teaching with it, when I really want to get this motherfucking* thesis out of the way, fate consipres against me?
Should I panic? Perhaps. But I can’t really manage to work up the energy. Plus it’s hard to breathe, and it’s not worth panicking if you’re not going to wail while you’re gnashing your teeth. Well, I could manage some wheezing (what with the lovely congested chest/sinus thing**) and a bit of moaning…
Yeah, so, ok, I think I’m going back to bed. Pick up some veggies and milk for our empty fridge on your way home, will you?
*sorry about that cuss.
**packed sinuses and blocked ears on a plane: interesting. Not as painful as I’d thought. But to feel the pressure inside my head shifting and popping and oozing was kind of unsettling.

look, we’re on the internet!

It’s odd to see bits of my world on the internet. If you go here you can see a building that I pass every week as I ride into town to go dancing. And that’s about the time of day I ride past (with allowances for seasonal variation of course).
The bit that’s strange though, is that I don’t often see the building from that angle – mostly as I’m barelling past trying not to die on the roundabout of death.

last cab off the rank…

…because I always seem to come the best memes long after they’re cool.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands
These are all the countries I’ve visited (with the exception of some places in Europe when I was a small child which I can’t remember.
Please note all those tiny red dots down there in the South Pacific.
…well, you will note them when I make this increasingly-irritatingly small column wider.

the Squeeze declares

The Squeeze has declared that there shall be no:

  • tutting
  • shuffling
  • hand wringing
  • shouting
  • screaming
  • huffing
  • subvocalising about Jesus, Young People, National Pride or Noise

on the tram. I’m not sure how he plans to enforce this, though I’m sure mimi smartypants could offer suggestions as a fellow PT stooge.
I, on the other hand, never seem to notice these PT crazy people, mostly because I read a book so I can tune out and not hear anything or anyone on the bus (which is why I don’t see the point of ipods – a book is far more interesting and effective a crazy-person deterrant). Or else I ride my bike.

nice things about the bus

– you can wear impractical shoes and the hugest trousers ever to uni.
– you can sit and read or sit and stare out the window at things going by at speeds greater than 30 k an hour!
– you can overhear conversations about immigration and bringing out beloved brothers between a stunningly beautiful blonde Ukranian girl and one of your favourite crinkly Italian bus drivers (the one who beeps the horn as he approaches the corner shop/deli in Nth Fitzroy so the shopkeeper can get his coffee to him, but then shares the accompanying free cake)
– you can arrive at your destination not covered in (admittedly euphoric) sweat
– you can run into students of Tutorials Past, who hail you at the front of the bus with a bellowed “Yo Sam!” from the back and then engage you in a round of catch up, much the interest of the intermediary students on the bus.
– you can discover said students* are half way through a CREATIVE WRITING HONOURS THESIS (!!!!!!)** and then share a wicked moment when he smirks “because I can’t write”.***
– you get to share a few blocks with school kids from the local middle school who an old friend would have described as ‘liquorice allsorts’ – all sorts of colours and shapes and seriously sweet, including a Japanese kid and a couple of North African Kids yelling out “good bye! good bye!” out the window to each other with great delight and that sort of after-a-goody-day merriment that makes passers-by grin
– you can fart as you leave a crowded bus full of high school students and smirk.
*The ones whose high school teachers (who, if you ever find them, will be totally bashed up) told them ‘couldn’t write’ and ‘never would be able to’, and who so impressed you with their insightful take on a fairly prosaic second assignment you were moved to a perhaps-overly-empassioned shredding of past high school teachers and comments such as ‘this is the type of work that we look for in postgraduate research – interesting, unique and well-researched takes on ordinary stuff’.
**I was so thrilled I would have squeezed this giant boy then and there, if it weren’t for half a bus and a dozen students between us. So I settled for much “I’m so HAPPY” and other mothery/aunty/nanna talk.
*** and at this point you realise why you teach, why it’s wonderful to meet students long after you’ve both moved on from the dullest subjects and are doing new things (whether that involves hitting on undergrads or reading good books**** on the bus), and why you catch the bus
****yeah right – like I’m going to pass up a good book on a warm bus on a chilly Autumn afternoon to chat up chundergrads? Psft.

brief round up action

I’ve been busy busy lately. So no blogging. Though I guess that’s one good thing about being busy – plenty to blog about.
1.MLX5. we ran it the weekend before last. It went majorly well, and – surprisingly – I don’t now hate the thought of the damn thing. We had a Tasmanian and a Perthian stay with us (with extended visits from crinkle) and had a jolly time.
2.Sydney. On the Thursday after the Monday MLX finished, I went to Sydney to do a paper at the CSAA conference. It went well. The visit was way fun – stayed with nice local dancer, sampled the city’s local dance scene, etc etc. Did no site-seeing though, which I kind of regret, esp as I wanted to get to the PowerHouse and the Gallery. But bought three Proper box sets (Fats Waller, Bix Beiderbecke and Ben Webster) for me and one for The Squeeze (Oscar Peterson). All for only $35 each. That’s a total of 16 superior CDs for only $150. I know, I know, it’s amazing.
3.The Squeeze quits his job and goes on holiday. We are both home all day, now, which is only mildly distracting for PhD girl, and could end in mutual, cataclysmic explosion action. But only could. Good thing we like each other.
4.Came home and wrote chapter. The best is last, of course. That goddamn final chapter is now down in words. Of course, it’s a crazy mess and needs mucho mucho work, but still.
Jobs to do:
1.Edit chapter into chapterness. Out of the wilderness, into the world of agriculted thesis.
2.Get a decent photo for the Melbourne Jazz Dance Association site (the body we use for running dance events – starting with MLX5), buy a domain and get the goddamn thing up there.
3.Think about the MLX6 website and theme. Am considering some sort of blogging software to make updating the site much easier and to allow muliple authors. Could use some other sort of data managment outfit, but… we’ll see. We definitely need a discussion board and facility for uploading files as we’ve pretty much maxed out our yahoo site’s space. But that will depend on the purchase of the domain and foundation of the website. Pft.
4.Got to yoga. Just go.
5.Go see a film.

flying home

There’s something strange about being the only person in a block of apartments after spending two weeks in the constant company of at least 200 people. Especially when those 200 people are almost always in constant physical contact with each other.

The second camp – Camp Savoy – is over, and I’m taking an extra night in the student housing to recover before I fly out of Heathrow tomorrow night. The weather has been utterly wonderful: very warm, very sunny. This could be a university campus anywhere in Australia. Though the food marks it as singularly British. Otherwise, there are very few English accents about – this being a university campus and all – and I’m really quite enjoying doodling about on my own.
Could do with a bit of company, but still
how could I complain about such a long, glorious evening with such wonderful warmth and cooling breeze? And after all this sitting about on the hilly lawn under the student accommodation, reading The Guardian (which I’ve missed) and beginning to think again, I’ve a lovely clean, dry bed with sheets and no early morning missions ahead of me.

The last two weeks have been incredibly intense. Herrang was the perfect exercise in indoctrination: intensely, physically demanding days with round the clock dancing, where doing a beginners class in aerials at 12midnight (midday Herrang time) seemed perfectly logical and plain black tea was a precious commodity to be traded illicitly and only between friends. I have surely joined a cult, and am in dire need of deprogramming.

Living with constant physical exhaustion, sleep deficiency and irregular meals have taken their toll and my health has once again dropped. The Herrang bug has been hanging about in my sinuses since late last week, and pushed me into naps every afternoon. Expensive classes with world-class lindy hop egos be-damned. There’s rest and recuperation to be done. My lungs are beginning to fill and the Horrid Cough has returned. I predict much wailing and gnashing of teeth when the plane takes off.

Flying with feet as sore and mangled and swollen as mine were last week resulted in a pain so spectacular I would have bawled like a baby if I’d not been so tired I fell immediately into a sleep that defied even take off. While the effects of constant dancing haven’t quite worn off – there are some disturbingly numb spots on my toes and recurring bouts of pins and needles – I’m hoping these couple of days of rest will make flying a bit more comfortable. I’ve regained some higher brain function and have managed to stay awake all day, though I’ll probably find myself all awake and twitchy at about 1am, looking for some dance floor action. But for now, it’s 8:34pm and I’ve not napped today. I must be getting better. There’s also been no dancing, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. Over two weeks of dancing every day for at least eight hours is kind of addictive. I’m in endorphin withdrawal, I’m sure. How will I cope with Melbourne’s dark and horrible winter?

Pft. It’s such a lovely, warm evening, it’s hard to imagine Melbourne’s crap weather. For now, while I’ve borrowed from Lionel Hampton, I think Miles Davis is the only possible musical alternative for this evening.

laundry report

My backpack full of clean laundry, care of Eva’s washing machine and a night break between camps, is now more a mixed bag. I am down to the non-dancing underwear (where the dancing underwear seems to have largely disappeared: I’m sure I’ve lost knickers in the Herrang laundry. Despite Grace’s best efforts) and once again wishing I’d brought some thai fisherman’s pants with me. But who’d have thought loose, cotton nappy-inspired trousers would be the perfect garment for a dance camp in Europe? Note to self for future reference, I guess.
The wedding clothes proved just as irritating as I’d thought: sure, I could have dressed up for the blues nights at Herrang (one can never be over dressed for blues night), but then I’d not have felt as comfortable as I did. Ah well.
I’m going to have to hunt for something clean for flying in. Something I can bear to wear for 24 hours straight

Future Herrang visits: more trousers. More loose, comfy cotton trousers. More thai fisherman pants. Ten tshirts is enough. Bring bike pants to manage inevitable Chafing Issues. Never too many pairs of underwear or socks. Bring only machine-washable, quick-drying clothes. Care not for crinkles. Swimming costume an essential for shy-bies (not that I had the opportunity to see if I was shy). Sheets. Say yes to a sheet. Hat. Sarong – another essential.

How will I manage Melbourne’s winter weather and fashion requirements? Especially now I’m at least a size smaller than I was before I left. Goddamn this super-responsive metabolism. It adores exercise. And dancing truly is the best exercise there is.

learning in herrang


this is one of the places we learn – another tent. there are two tents (savoy ballroom and roseland), where we do our classes. we also learn in the hall upstairs, and in the dance banaan, outside, which is a sort of pagoda thingy.
we also learn in the gym: