things abound

I think I’m entering week 7 of lockdown, or thereabouts. I figured when the library shut it’d be months before we returned though the odd bod I suspect was hoping for a few weeks. I’m somewhat unusual compared to my colleagues, working from home is old news; I spent years working from home in a previous job. This time round, it’s still the case that my job is mostly online and the bits that weren’t, very quickly were.

Weirdly, or perhaps not, my workload increased initially and for a few weeks after. It seems to have settled down though the gov has said we’re only supposed to work 7 hours with no flex. I have struggled to keep down to 7. Then again, I am glad that I have work and sad that so many do not. I am a renter without a mortgage to worry about.

I am overjoyed that we are lucky enough to have the nbn though adsl would suffice as it has in the past. It drops out on rainy days which suggests we’ll need to get the wiring looked at. We moved house prior to Christmas, downsizing, but the bigger house would’ve been good now with 2 adults and 2 adult children co-sharing a 3 bedder rather than our previous 4. All of us with different online needs. As I’m working fulltime, my life has not changed a great deal. My commute is now 10 seconds rather than an hour, which means an hour extra sleep in the morning – that will be hard to give up.

I have revisited my LibraryThing account; there’s an app now with barcode scanning. I am tempted to try and scan all my books, at least those that have barcodes. Many alas, do not. In the move, I reluctantly weeded a few boxes of books. Some I miss already…I think I got rid of my Wizard of Id collection of which I had many volumes. I have kept my Biggles, Enid Blyton, and of course Trixie Belden. Got rid of chunk of history things that I had grabbed from Dad’s books when he passed. I have been buying nicer editions of some novels, and tossing the ageing, smelly paperbacks.

snail on wheels

Ms19 has bought a pair of roller skates which in turn has encouraged me to retrieve my old, old skates from the garage. I was unsteady initially but glad to report I still remember how, the confidence returns. We have been out twice to skate at a nearby basketball court which is sufficiently smooth and large for us to gain confidence and in my case, pick up speed as I skate the perimeter. However my upper body particularly is feeling the strain; feeling sore for a few days following each session.

As time goes on at home, I struggle to imagine what holidays look like. I had planned a 6-8 week trip in Europe to coincide with my partner’s Churchill Trust study trip. That will not happen this year and the Trust have postponed such trips to next year…I suspect at the earliest. I was saving my leave for a couple of years for this trip and now the idea of going on holidays saddens me. I am overdue a holiday and there is nowhere to go. I am keeping my fingers crossed that NZ will be a possibility later in the year.

And I am lucky, lucky that I have a job, lucky that I can still think of holidays.

a little weed

Books. I have some. Perhaps a lot. Not too many; I managed to weed a few boxes recently. Mostly I’m good with that, though there has been a couple of moments of wondering where a book was and realising sadly that it was gone. There was also a joyful discovery when I found one and realised I hadn’t found it as I thought it was by a different author.

Books weeded included a mix of fiction and non fiction, some I’d grabbed from my dad’s collection and some my own. For example dad had had many books by the historian Peter Gay, and I had one or two. A nice run but I’m not in that space now and it seemed a prudent spot to prune. Reduce. I kept a few Foucault but not all. I retain some Kant and Hobbes, Marx, Trixie Belden and Biggles, Capt America…all the Capt America.

Now that my books are sorted and shelved, I should do a count. Find the real number that I have. Because. It will not be a fixed number. I continue to acquire interesting things. Newly arrived is the Subterranean Press edition of Use of Weapons, by Ian M Banks in his Culture series. I think I read it long ago, and the books preceding; meant to continue but never got round to it. I am looking forward to reading it again.

travelling without moving

Every weekend, usually Sunday, I like to read the travel section in the weekend SMH, usually in a cafe over a lazy breakfast. It’s become such a routine that it at times feels almost meditative.

I stop, I read, I imagine, I dream.

Every so often an article will whisk my mind away into other places and I contemplate what sort of trip I need to get there. Sometimes they remind of trips friends have made, Portugal and Japan have both been popping up of late. Last weekend another reminder of Iceland…and come to think of it, I think there was a national geographic photo display for Iceland in my facebook feed recently.

Portugal has a couple of interesting things: tarts and port, especially aged port. I read an article years ago, probably in the SMH, about drinking 50 year old ports in Portugal and this not being an unusual thing.

I noted in my last bucket post that I had managed to make it to all capitals in Oz. Since then, I have been to Tassie twice more and can now state that I have been to all capitals twice. I really need to see more of Tassie beyond Hobart and south of Hobart. I’d like to visit Fremantle again, and Margaret River, perhaps north of Perth for a change too.

i am not a number

Many years ago, prior even to my own existence, there was a British TV show starring Patrick McGoohan titled The Prisoner. Actually, McGoohan not only starred in it, he also created, wrote, produced, and directed it; clearly a passion project which contrasted individual needs with those of the group. It was rather surreal and ideas driven, with a certain eccentricity and a key logo being a penny farthing.

I had initially thought it was all filmed on a specially created set, but discovered later that the village where it was set was real. Portmeirion is a town in North Wales, on the River Dwyryd that was built during the mid 20th century. There is an extensive quote from Lewis Mumford in the wikipedia article noting:

an artful and playful little modern village, designed as a whole and all of a piece … a fantastic collection of architectural relics and impish modern fantasies

In the series and in the descriptions it looks deliciously quirky and eccentric. I don’t often visit places from TV or cinema but this one particularly appeals both as a reference to The Prisoner and interesting destination of its own.

Pathway beside canal in Oxford, OK.It looks like I may get to travel to Europe in 2020 as my partner will be undertaking a study trip supported by The Churchill Trust. Consequently I am putting together my own self-funded trip that will occasionally intersect with her’s as she’ll be working. The challenge is find places to visit that I’m happy to visit by myself, and the village of The Prisoner might just fit.

Location-wise, it’s not far from Dublin, possibly a few hours by bus and ferry, which is significant as it is the host city for IFLA in 2020 and I’m hoping to make the first few days of it. The last time I went to an IFLA conference was in Milan in 2009 and I think that was just after the IFLA Australia conference had been cancelled. I have good memories of the Milan conference, aside from the heat, and good friends and connections and would love to go again, hopefully Dublin will be a little cooler.

The challenge of visiting a town in Wales is to avoid another Welsh town, namely Hay-On-Wye, rumoured to have more bookshops per capita than anywhere else. I was last there in 2008, visiting many bookshops and bought more than a few books. Afterall, it’s the one place where buying books is its own form of souveniring :-)

june is gone

Another #blogjune has passed. This time round I managed 11 posts in 30 days, or 1 in 3 on average. Not bad, not great but I’m ok with that though it does make a list of top posts and bottom posts a little more challenging. I pottered about, got some things done, changed themes and images around, and finally restored my movie ratings from the backup.

Looks like I managed to have someone look at my blog every day of June and my three best read posts were:

Thinking back on an early post about the challenges of writing and developing content, I had a thought. I still have a few of my exercise books from school and I am tempted to check the English ones for stories I may wrote and blog them. Then see if I can use those to generate more creative stuff. If nothing else, it’ll give current me a chance to revisit younger me.

Hmmmm…1st of July and I’m already out of puff :-)

updated flicks

Surprisingly, I have finally migrated my movie ratings over from my backup of the dead zip to the current site. As with many migrations, the bulk was fine – literally cut and paste from the backup html – followed by some massaging of the results. There was the odd carriage return and a whole bunch of accents that didn’t seem to migrate well. Still, relatively painless for several hundred lines of code/content.

State Theatre neon signThe bulk of the content covers 2001-2005 with a little bit of 2007 and 2016. There’s some inbetween years where I was at least writing paragraph summaries of filmfest viewings and I think I can convert them to starred ratings. I liked my approach in 2016 of adding a short line of thoughts to complement the rating. Will see if I can add that for some of the older ones and do it some more going forward.

A lot of interesting films in the 2000s. Not fully sure what I’m going to do with it all. Part of me is a little interested in creating a personal database of all my film stuff, fully normalised of course. Certainly I need to explore merging the basic starred stuff with the reviews I’ve written.

To start with, here is a list of everything I gave a 5 star rating to. I’ll do a new version of this when I add the rest of the content:

 

zip is dead…really this time

It finally happened. Zip, my old, old ISP, is well and truly dead; connections started failing early June and none of the URLs work anymore. Email doesn’t work and no matter what URL variations I use I can no longer reach the old blog. They announced they were killing it off a year or so back and I haven’t been charged since but some things continued to work. No more.

cropped-5278187613_df96b4a56b_b.jpgThankfully I still have a couple of backups of my offline development environment which includes a full copy of the blog and the wayback machine has grabbed a copy too. Sadly, this post of mine from 2010 still needs to be done. Perhaps while film remains on my mind I could at least migrate over all my movie ratings. Or radically, add ratings for the films I’ve seen this year.

New things to do now include updating the email profiles on a couple of my devices to remove zip altogether. That should stop the error messages I get every time I start up. Proving yet again I prefer shiny and pretty over any work of depth, I have instead updated the theme and changed the banner pic :-)