Saturday, June 28, 2008

Parking in Newtown? No problem

We live very close to King Street, Newtown. Eat Street. On Saturday nights parking is very difficult around us. The people across the road are having work done on their two-storey wall, and a cherry-picker was parked overnight. Did that stop someone parking? Not one bit. I saw the car parked underneath it when I went out for the 9.30 pm walk with the dog, and decided to take a picture. Just as I returned with the camera, the car's owners arrived. "How cool is that parking spot" said I. They agreed, so I snapped the pic.

This morning when the workmen arrived, I printed out a picture as proof. Not something they would see every day.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rail: to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language

I've had it up to HERE with NSW's CityRail, so I have come here to rail against it. So that's where that word comes from!

I've tried, really, I have tried, to make it work. But there is just no effort from the other side.

I work for Monash University, in Melbourne, and live in Sydney. This means many early morning starts and evening returns from the airport. Sometimes I persuade my better half to take me there in the mornings, but sometimes I creep out before dawn's early light to get myself there. A train seems a good idea because I live two minutes' walk from the station, the service is usually quick in the mornings, and because my inner greenie wants to support rail transport and support the airport service. I think it is generally a Good Thing, even though we are close enough to the airport for it not to make much difference in cost.

But I've had enough, I can't try any more.

Episode 1: I get there at 5.30 am for a scheduled train, nobody to buy tickets from. I have a $50 note (for a $20+ return fare) and there is no change in the machine. I have no alternative but to hail a cab.

Episode 2: I am going to Melbourne for the day. I have a tight connection on the way back to get to a choir performance at the Opera House, so I want to save time. At Newtown station I cannot buy a return ticket Newtown/Airport/Circular Quay. No way. A return won't work. Newtown Station cannot sell me a Domestic/Circular Quay single. There is no alternative but to spend precious minutes at the airport struggling with baggage and running for time, getting the money to feed into a machine or to wait in the inevitable slow line.

Episode 3: I go to Melbourne Wednesday morning, and return Thursday evening. I like to be organised, and I make a commitment to travelling by train. It seems like The Right Thing. So I bought a return ticket. Put the ticket in my purse, and travel ensues. On my return, I get the ticket out, put it into the machine, which rejects it. The attendant points out the message on the ticket that it is valid DAY OF PURCHASE only! Naturally, you don't see this message (if at all) until AFTER you have purchased the ticket. I ask for my money back. No go. I get a form to fill out to request the return of my $10.10. Why on earth is my ticket invalid the very next day? I will fill in the form, and I will make my point.

Let's not talk about the sheer inconvenience of having to travel back to Central, then change platforms with my baggage. Wait for trains at Central outside in the cold, with my baggage. Deal with the steps at Newtown Station (more than forty steps, no lift, with my baggage).

So I try to support public transport, but every time I try it seems they throw ball bearings under my feet.

I'm pretty cranky about it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Scold's Bridle?

I can't help thinking there is more than a touch of sexism in the Belinda Neal/John della Bosca affair. I don't know the woman, and she doesn't sound like someone I really want to know, and that is totally irrelevant. This this whole affair has been blown into huge proportions. Would it have happened if it had just been one of the blokes who threw a tanty at having to move tables? Is Belinda the only one to trade insults in Parliament? I reckon that she's copping a whole heap because she is a woman playing politics to a man's rules. She's damned if she doesn't. And it looks awfully like she's damned if she does.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The garden progresses

Majic adores the goings on in the back yard. He adores the builders, especially Rick, who loves him in return. I fear that Majic might be abducted one day!

I think Majic was cut out to be a Builder's Pug, or a Plumber's Pug. He just loves being out there and in amongst it all. Rick even indulged Majic's desire to drive the wheelbarrow.

Majic had a bit of a problem finding the steering wheel, though.

While The Blokes are generally happy to have him around, we did have to draw the line when he went wading in the wet concrete. The footings were not long poured when Majic decided he didn't need to use the wooden plank. After all, an urban Pug knows about footpaths! Alas, he didn't realise it hadn't set.

He was quickly whisked to the bathtub.

Things are going along beautifully out the back. The curved 'seating wall' is now in place, and I can see we are going to have a lot more room now that all the perimeter garden is gone. It is kind of sad to see some of it go, but truly, I don't need to have a big garden to weed. The corner left will be ample.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Carmina with oomph

As part of the Festival Chorus I'd sung in Carmina Burana in August 2007. We did some ten weeks of rehearsal for it, picking apart the text and music intimately, learning the text off by heart. What a blast it was, a tremendous experience.

When it was announced that the Chorus Oz performance for 2008 was also going to be Carmina, many of the Festival Chorus thought to give it a miss. When you get to the end of all that rehearsal and the performances, you almost never want to hear it again.

I'd often wondered what it would be like to sing tenor (being an alto) and I expressed this at some stage. A fellow alto said that if I registered as tenor for Chorus Oz, she would too. So we did!

We spent this last weekend rehearsing and performing it. There are lots of similarities between the alto and tenor parts, but there was plenty of new stuff to keep us interested and on our toes. There are some songs which are only for the men, including a fabulous (and difficult) drinking song.

It was a very different experience. How delightfully amusing it was to be treated as the pampered divas by Brett Weymark, our conductor. Altos are the workhorses, but tenors are temperamental artistes. He referred often to the men, and men-esses. Did he really mean menaces? Out of a choir of over eight hundred there might have been 8 women tenors. I gather there were about 270 male voices, including the basses. There were heaps of altos, and about two boxes fewer sopranos. Carmina is a piece where the men have a real starring role so it was a good one to be my debut.

Sitting on the right hand side of the stage gives one a different view of the orchestra and conductor, and it is very close to the sopranos, so the sound balance is very different. Singing those blokey songs in full volume chest voice takes a lot more energy than the pretty alto part in head voice. I was really tired at the end of it and my voice felt very strained. There seemed to be a lot of testosterone in the atmosphere around me!

I don't think I'll sing tenor again. It was interesting, and it was certainly fun to belt out those booming low notes, but I think I like being a girl and singing girl parts. I missed the musicality somehow, of the lovely alto lines. It will be good to get deep into the Beethoven program that is coming up - rehearsals start in a few weeks.