Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yeah yeah, catching up

Yeah, yeah, I know that I haven't blogged for a week or more, my dad keeps nagging me every time he sees me, which is a lot this week, because he's in town.

Partly it's because of my addiction to Farmville and the nice things I can do on it:

Maynard and Rory held their breath:
were the stories of Grandpa's secret collection of 1950s p0rn really true?

Partly it's because I don't seem to have time to scratch myself, and in the spaces in between, I just want to plant and pat and harvest (see? Farmville again).

But here I am, feeling a bit worn out and off-colour at work, not wanting to operate heavy machinery, so in between small helpful tasks, I'm going to get you up to date.

Where was I? Goodness, I left you at the point when I was joyously riding my bike at night. That was a while ago.


I gave a public lecture at the Art Skool's regular weekly lunchtime lecture series, Art Forum. If you're ever scratching around for something to do in Canberra at 12 on a Wed or 1 on a Thurs, there's usually a visiting artist or staff member talking about their practice. I missed one a few weeks ago by someone who went through Sculpture when I was a student who has become the technical assistant to Bridget Riley (Op Art queen)! O wot fun.

My talk was about the work I do with other people, and explaining that shorter projects with driven people or making smaller pieces for theme-based group shows always get precedent over my own larger projects because they are easier to juggle with home, work, Farmville, etc. Well, I didn't mention FV, but many of the people listening are Facebook friends and must be inundated with the stoopid notifications that get generated and published (that can be hidden, quite easily, if they are too annoying).

Of course, I talked too fast. I always do unless I can remember to slow down. I always feel like talking slowly makes me sound like I have a speech impediment, but if I hear a recording, I sound quite normal. When I hear a recording of what I think is normal speech, I sound like the tape has been sped up. Sigh.


Bumblebee was sick that day, and I made him sit up the back of the lecture theatre and listen. He's been ill for about a week now, with a really horrid head cold. I had to teach on Saturday and Sunday and Monday, so lovely Best Beloved did the nursing honours. It made sense on Monday especially, because he gets paid regardless if he stays home to mind sick child, and I don't, being the absolute bottom of the food chain and paid by timesheets.

I have been fighting off his cold, but I think it's tightening its grip. Olive leaf extract and masses of VitC is helping, but I may have to spend some of this weekend actually resting. Such an alien concept!


I taught a course at Megalo on Saturday and Sunday on Asian Stab Bindings and Coptic Binding. It was a lovely group of women who got on very well together, and that makes all the difference. If the class dynamic is good, everything is smooth and jolly, and if not, it's a slog.

The funniest part for me was that one person (whose name I shall not mention but she works with me here at Art Skool and you know who you are :) ) forgot her glasses EACH DAY, and discovered that another woman's glasses worked with her eyes, so all weekend they were passing the glasses back and forth as if they were the Graeae passing around their eyeball. If I ever get the sustained time to write a short story, I'll have characters doing the same...

I was very honourable, as always, when the participants filled out their feedback forms, assuring them that I wouldn't peek so that they could be totally honest in their feedback. I always keep my word about that, and juts popped the envelope under the office door as I was going home. On Tuesday, when I went to collect my gear, the Director of Megalo was really pleased, and sat me down to read the feedback, which was all really, really positive. Yay! Again, mostly to do with the luck of the class dynamics, it's always great when everyone helps each other and enjoy themselves.

I'm teaching a one-day course on concertina books at the Tuggeranong Art Centre on June 5th, if anyone fancies it. Should be lots of fun.

I'm also doing (as a student) a one-day course at Megalo on woodblock printing on June 12th, which should be ACE. I'm keen on collecting skills that don't need large and expensive equipment, and have always wanted to learn Japanese image transfer and inking techniques.


I don't know if you've ever noticed, but my dad isn't the only family member who actively prompts me about my blogging. I have an auntie from WA, Auntie Lou, who reads and works up the courage to leave comments quite often.

Well, this week I am having a visit from The Aunties: Auntie Lou (my dad's youngest sister) and Auntie Jan (the oldest sister). They are doing a Grand Tour fuelled by the immense number of frequent flyer points accrued by my miner uncle, Bill: enough to go around the world four times, apparently, but instead are getting L and J here business class and hiring a car and staying at some pretty swanky venues. They're also having a visit to Mary MacKillop's grave or some such thing, to celebrate her saintliness.

Auntie Lou is not well, with many dramatic health problems that keep her mostly housebound. Uncle Bill refuses to travel with her because the risk of things going wrong is fairly high (last time she visited us, when Bumblebee was a little tucker, she ended up in a Canberra hospital, ferried by an ambulance in the middle of the night, which was a bit scary!), but Auntie Jan has been persuaded to accompany her, and is a perfect companion: efficient, supportive and completely calm. And able to laugh in the face of anything, a family trait.

Last night I went out to dinner with the Aunties, Colonel & Lady Duck, and their friends, my godparents. The visitors are staying at Uni House, so we took over the posh restaurant there, Boffins. As their ad says, Boffins 'exudes quiet sophistication', an atmosphere that we shot to pieces with our raucous family banter, swapping stories about grandchildren and nostalgic recollections of their children (including me). I learned a fab new word for a woman's bagina (as Zoe calls it): a 'minnie', used by one of the WA grandkids, recounted to our tearful howls of laughter.


Poor old Bumblebee saw more minnies than he'd planned to the other day. I'd set up his laptop with basic parental controls, and meant to do some more stringent things when I had a moment, and he and I had agreed that besides typing his homework, he could only check his gmail and play on Facebook. Anyhoo, he's been playing this game on FB called Wild Ones, and loves it. He hadn't bookmarked it, and one afternoon decided to find it by googling it. Well. You can guess what happened, can't you? I was sitting nearby and saw him looking at his screen with a weird look on his face: shock, confusion, and concentration. He saw me looking at him, and lowered his laptop screen slightly. I said jokingly, 'what's up, you looking at pr0n?' He lowered his screen even more and looked even more uncomfortable.

Oh noes! I thought. And got him to close the laptop.

Colonel and Lady Duck were visiting at the time, and we all sat around and talked over the issue. It was an interesting afternoon, and I think we handled it well, with sympathy and humour and not making him feel too shameful about having accidentally found the site.

Later on, once I'd spent a long overdue while setting his Google search settings and set up stronger parental controls (snaps to Bernice for the help), I had a look at what he'd been looking at. I could understand his confusion... thanks to our modern predilection for shaving, it was very hard to work out exactly what you were seeing, and it was like a very odd game of twister.

When I told him the next day that I'd set the computer up so that it would be very hard to recreate the experience, his response was genuine relief. But his cred has gone up a bit with his friends... and it has allowed some very frank discussions about what women *actually* look like and what an industry like that entails.

Took a while for my heart to settle down... breathe, breathe. Shows how easily this stuff can happen. I'm very glad that I insist he uses the laptop in a shared space, not locked away in his bedroom.


So tonight there's an opening at ANCA of a show of the work of two lovely friends, Genevieve Swifte and Nicci Haynes, called Shifting Signs. They have collaborated on the works, showing two separate bodies of prints & drawings and a few shared pieces. And there's even drawings on the walls themselves. The opening is at 6pm, and I'm the opening speaker... So I have to remember to speak. slowly.

Also, I'm featured (along with two other artists) in this week's issue of the Canberra Chronicle, or Chronic, as Crit calls it. I haven't seen the piece yet, as I've only just won my battle to stop having the community paper delivered. It wasn't the paper itself, it was the bugger who delivered it, and the weird ways it was deposited on our land. I started with an official sticker saying 'No junk mail. No Chronicle', which was ignored. Then I moved to handwritten notes, stuck onto the postbox, and then nailed onto the front verge in the last place the paper had been dumped. I was collecting a stack of them in their horrid plastic baggy things, ready to spell 'NO CHRONICLE' on the front verge in newspapers, just in case they were being thrown out of a plane, but then I noticed that they had stopped, and now I'm happy. But now I'm in the paper. So I'm asking people to save me a copy. Crit's doing it, so I know I'll get one.

The article itself is about an exhibition down at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre (Tuggeranong means 'Land of the long grey tracksuit') called The Story is the Thing, featuring artist's books featuring storytelling. I have a piece in it, but I'm featured in the article mostly to promote the associated workshop on concertina books that I mentioned earlier.

Phew. I think that's about all. I'll leave it at that for now.


Zarquon said...

Speaking of Skool:

(wv: vange)!

pk said...

Just think of me as your auntie

Mummy/Crit said...

Crikey, you have been busy. And yes, I cut out the article, so unless Erik eats it, you should get it some time soon.

Your p--- story scares me somewhat (as it should). Jay doesn't quite get why I don't want D doing stuff hidden in his room at this age. I'm just trying to set up the notion that leisure activities (reading, DS playing, internet surfing) should be done in the common areas of the house, so that when he does get a laptop, that's the norm...

I know that 'speaking too fast' thing well, I'm the same. I have to consciously slow myself down.

Ampersand Duck said...

Ooh, love the Molesworth. 'he hav the rite oily DEMENOR'. heh. I think I love it as much as my partner loves The Diary of a Nobody.

Sure, pk.

And yeah, I spoke too fast las night, but I think I said all the right things, so I'm happy. The artists looked happy.

genevieve said...

Land of the long grey tracksuit - HEH. Want to live there already, it sounds relaxing.